Monday, July 19, 2010

A Significant Sequence of Events

by My Anonymous Friend

I have been curious sometimes why Gospel writers under the direction of the Holy Spirit recorded certain events in the sequence they did. These events are not always in chronological order and sometimes time passes in between one incident and another.

A good example is Luke 5. The chapter begins with the miracle of the fish catch. The next narrative is about a leper healed. The third "cameo" in this chapter concerns the paralytic who was lowered through the tiles of a roof so he could get near Jesus and be healed.

So why are these three events following each other? I wish to offer a suggestion. It can be said that each of them teach a lesson about the human condition. Let me show you what I mean:

Fishing story – Peter responds, "Get away from me, I am a sinful man." A most unusual response we could say. Jesus said to him, "Be not afraid!"

Leper – Dr. Luke reminds us that this man was full of leprosy. In light of biblical teaching about leprosy we could say he was HOPELESSLY sick. Jesus said to this man, "I am willing to heal you!"

Paralytic – Had to be helped by others. He was HELPLESSLY sick. Jesus called this man "Friend!"

Do you see the progression?

Fear,.... hopelessness.... and helplessness. Then.... Do not be afraid,..... I am willing,..... Friend!

A beautiful picture we have here. Our initial response to God may well be fear. When we are made aware of His presence as Peter was, we shrink back in fear and terror. But Jesus tells us not to be afraid. Leprosy is a frequent picture of the pervasiveness of sin. Luke takes pains to let us know that the person was full of leprosy. The paralytic was entirely helpless. He needed others to bring him to Jesus. We too are hopelessly and helplessly lost and in need of healing.

The response by Jesus in each instance is fantastic. Who would not be comforted to hear Him say, "Do not be afraid." Who would not be thrilled to hear Him say, "I am willing to heal and cleanse you!"? Many believe their "leprosy" is too far advanced or beyond healing. Not so! Who would not be thrilled to hear Jesus say, "Friend" and to continue to hear the words, "Your sins are forgiven you!"?

Well these are some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a time. I hope they give you occasion to think and to realize that these three cameos present a beautiful picture to us of God's grace and love.

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