Luke chapter 5.1-17

Cleansing Nets (verses 1-3)

The multitudes of people throng around the Lord as He stands by Lake Gennesaret. This lake is also called the Sea of Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee. They had a desire to hear the word of God taught, and so should we. There were two ships berthed at the edge of the lake, evidently belonging to Peter and Andrew and James and John. The night’s fishing was over, and they were washing their nets to prepare them for future use. This is a Divine principle, that vessels should be clean if they are going to be usable, and we, as God’s people, experience ongoing cleansing through our exposure to the word of God. The Lord said in John 15.3: “Now ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you.” Jesus goes into Simon Peter’s boat and asks him to push out a little from the shore. The boat became His platform to speak to the multitude, and He sat down to teach them the word of God.

Catching Fish (verses 4-11)

After the preaching, Peter was told to sail out into deeper water and let down his nets. Peter is a bit reluctant, as they have spent the whole night fishing this part of the sea and have caught nothing. Nevertheless, he agrees to let down a net as the Lord instructed. Notice, he doesn’t do exactly what he was told, as the Lord said let down the nets, plural. Peter only let down a single net. As a result, when they enclosed a great multitude of fish, the net was beginning to break. Having called for their partners to bring the other ship, they took in such a catch that both ships were in danger of sinking. No doubt, this was a lesson on complete obedience for Peter, but he also became conscious of his own sinfulness in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Peter and all the others were astonished at the miracle. The Lord encouraged Peter not to be afraid and revealed to him that, from now on, he would catch men through the preaching of the word of the Lord. As soon as they arrived at land, they left everything, their business and their families, and became followers of the Lord Jesus.


Curing the Leper (verses 12-14)

The Lord moves from the seaside to the city, and encounters a man in the very advanced stages of leprosy. The man is not afraid to get down before the Lord, and falls on his face, pleading with the Lord to cleanse him. Note, he did not doubt the ability of the Lord to cure him, but was unsure if this was His will. Dramatically, the hand of the Lord went out and touched the leper. Luke, in a number of passages, draws attention to the touch of Christ. What compassion it showed, as no one else would have dared to touch a man in such a condition, in case they were defiled. The Lord says: “I will be thou clean,” and the man is immediately and completely made whole. The man is required by the Lord to tell no one else what has happened to him, but to fulfil the requirements of the law and show himself to the priest, who would ceremonially pronounce the man clean.

Continuing Ministry (verses 15-17)

However, the fame of what the Lord was able to do was spread even further, and great multitudes came to hear and to be healed. The Lord again withdraws from them all into the wilderness for a time of prayer with the Father. The impact that the Lord was making had come to the attention of the Pharisees and the doctors of the law, and they came from all the towns of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem to listen to Him. Note, Luke emphasises the power of the Lord that was present to heal, and how significant it is that power follows prayer, teaching us how dependent we are upon Him.

Luke chapter 4.31-44

The Galilean Ministry

The Lord travels to Capernaum to begin His Galilean ministry in earnest. This region was going to be extremely privileged to receive the ministry of the Lord Jesus and hear His teaching over the next 3 years. Luke tells us they were astonished at His doctrine, for His word came to them with authority and power.

The demon-possessed man

In the synagogue, the Lord is confronted with a man who is possessed by an unclean spirit. Firstly, the demon makes a request to be left alone. It also recognises that He is not only Jesus of Nazareth, but that He is indeed the Holy One of God. The demon also realises the power the Lord possesses to destroy it, and that there will come a time when that judgment will take place. But the Lord rebukes the demon, telling it to be silent and commanding it to come out of the man. The demon makes one last effort to harm the man and throws him into the middle of the company, but has to comply with the Lord’s command. The demon leaves the man and is not able to hurt him any further.

Reaction to what the Lord had done caused amazement once more, and they confessed that His authority and power was superior to that of demons, which could do nothing but obey His command. As a result, Jesus’ fame was spread through all the surrounding countryside.

Peter’s mother-in-law

Next, the Lord goes into Simon Peter’s house and finds that the latter’s mother in law is sick with a fever. We are told that they besought the Lord for her, which is a good principle to follow. When we know of those who are ill, it is a good practice to pray to the Lord for them. The Lord stands over her, making His presence felt, and rebukes the fever. Notice that, the instant He does this, she is not only cured of the fever but suffers no ill effects, as she is immediately able to serve them with food. Let us remember that He has raised us up too, and we have an obligation to serve Him because of what He has done for us!

The setting of the sun

It’s the end of a busy day at Capernaum, but, even at sunset, the Lord continues to work. People with different kinds of illnesses were brought to him from all around, and He healed them with His touch. Many demons were also cast out of people and, again, they cried out saying that He was the Christ the Son of God. Notice that the demons had no doubts about who the Lord Jesus was, but He would not allow them to speak of Him, for He would not receive witness from satanic sources.

Sought by the multitudes

When the morning came, the Lord went away into a barren place, but, even there, He was followed by the people. They appealed to Him to stay there with them, but the Lord makes it clear that He must preach about the Kingdom of God in other cities also. This was the will of God for Him and He must be faithful to His commission, so He went and preached in other synagogues throughout Galilee. The Lord could not be held back in His service for God by other people, however well-meaning they might be. He had come to do the will of God, and that was ever the priority in His earthly life.

Luke Chapter 4, 14 – 30

His Custom –

Nazareth was the home town of the Lord Jesus. It was the place where He had grown up, and yet, we are going to see, He was not accepted, even in His own town.

Habits are formed in every one of our lives, and some are good, while others are not. In growing up at Nazareth, the Lord had adopted only customs which were spiritually beneficial. Luke has already drawn attention to these customs in chapter 2, verse 42, when he tells us that Mary and Joseph, as their custom was, went up to the house of God at Jerusalem. Here, the Lord goes into the synagogue and stands up to read the word of God. How important it is to regularly be in a place where the scriptures are read and explained.

It says He found the place where it was written, by unrolling the scroll that contained Isaiah’s prophecy until He came to the place we now know as chapter 61. The Lord, as the Author of the scriptures, could easily have just quoted verbatim this particular passage. However, He took up the parchment in order to show them the authority of the written word of God.

His Commission

The words He read clearly applied to Him. He was anointed by the Spirit with a view to preaching the gospel to the poor. We have already noted the activity of the Divine Spirit in relation to the Lord: at His birth, the Spirit came upon Mary, and the Power of the Almighty overshadowed her. At His baptism, the Spirit descended like a dove upon Him. At His temptation, being full of the Holy Spirit, He was led into the wilderness, and, in verse 14 of this chapter, He returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. Truly, He is a picture of the Spirit-filled Man. We, as believers, are expected to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is an ongoing experience.  As Paul says in Ephesians 5, “be filled with the Spirit,” that is, keep on being filled with the Spirit. We must give control of our lives over to the Holy Spirit of God.

Notice the categories of people that the Lord has in mind for blessing through His preaching: the broken-hearted, the bound, the blind and the bruised!

He came to make whole those who had been crushed by sin; to deliver away from the slavery that sin brings into the lives of people who cannot break its power; to open the eyes of those who were in spiritual darkness, blinded as to who He really was; to release, through His forgiveness, those whose lives were shattered through the calamities that come as a result of pursuing a sinful life. This is what the Spirit had anointed Him to do, and this, He told them, was the day when God was being favourable toward them. He told them this was the day of fulfilment for these scriptures, and they fastened their eyes on Him in amazement. However, some commented – no doubt in a disbelieving way – that this was Joseph’s son.

The Lord then shows to them that it was just out of curiosity that they were hoping He would do some miracle among them, as they had heard He had done elsewhere. He knew that here, in His own country, they did not honour Him as the Son of God. He cites two examples from their history to show how they had missed the blessing of God in the past because of unbelief. In Elijah’s day, when there was famine, God did not provide for His servant through just any widow in Israel. He sent Elijah to a woman in Sarepta, a city belonging to the Sidonians. Then again, in Elisha’s day, no lepers in Israel were cleansed by God, but Naaman the Syrian was! How fickle crowds can be. Previously, they had wondered at the gracious words He spoke (verse 22); now, they were filled with wrath. They forced Him out of their city, and were about to throw Him over the brow of the hill, but Jesus miraculously passed through the crowd and went His way!