Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
April 22, 2007
18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 And behold, men bring on a bed a man that was palsied: and they sought to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19 And not finding by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went up to the housetop, and let him down through the tiles with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
- I. Luke's "Behold".
- A. Luke uses "behold" 79 times in Luke/Acts (56/23 respectively) out of 213 occurances in the New Testament. It is "typical" for those uses to refer to something "significant".
- 1. The first occurrence is found in Gabriel's mouth as he announces the penalty upon Zacharias for his reluctance to believe the promise of John; the second one is also Gabriel's -- telling Mary she will conceive Jesus.
- 2. The record before us in this study marks the thirteenth time that Luke has employed the term in his attempt to give Theophilus what he needed to be a legitimate disciple.
- B. In chapter 5, both of the "miracles" that followed the "disciple" text (5:1-11 -- Peter, James, and John 'forsook all and followed Him' because of the phenomenal catch of fish) were set as "behold" stories.
- 1. The "full of leprosy" story is an echo of Moses' "sign" to Israel that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had really spoken to him.
- 2. What of the "palsied" man?
- a. The descriptive term is only used five times in the New Testament and Luke is the author of four of them (Hebrews 12:12 is the only one outside of Luke/Acts).
- b. The verb is a combination of para and luo, indicating that it was "coined" to describe the "loosing" of one's control over his limbs so that he could not use them effectively. It was used in the Septuagint to translate 13 different Hebrew words. The third of these thirteen is a reference to a "leper" whose clothes are to be "torn" (this is our word): Leviticus 13:45. The fourth of these thirteen is found in a prophecy of the Lord's compassion upon His servants whom He sees as "palsied" (without strength): Deuteronomy 32:36. The next reference is 2 Samuel 8:4 where David "hamstrung" the horses to keep them from being able to pull war chariots. In Isaiah 23:9 there is an oracle against Tyre which declares that the Lord has "determined to destroy all the pride...". The word "destroy" is our word. Isaiah 35:3 is the background for Hebrews 12:12. The "general" concept of the word is one of "being rendered incapable".
- c. Clearly, Luke wished to tell how a man who had been rendered "incapable" was "forgiven" by Jesus because of "faith".
- II. Jesus' Perception of "Faith".
- A. Luke uses a verb to describe Jesus' perception that looks very much like "behold" and can be translated "beholding".
- B. Jesus' conclusion about the activities of the men is that they were "faith" driven.
- 1. This "faith" issue is critical; it draws a line between those who receive from the Lord and those who do not.
- 2. The "activities" which reveal this "faith" are remarkable in that they include tearing up another man's roof to obtain what they wanted. Did Jesus afterward insist that they "get up there and fix the roof", or did He even have to, seeing they had been so blessed?
- 3. In what sense do the activities bear the stamp of "faith"?
- a. In the most fundamental sense, under Law there was a connection between sin and disease (Exodus 15:26 and Deuteronomy 7:15).
- b. In this very record, Jesus' response to the "faith" was to declare "sins" forgiven.
- c. The point of "revelation" from God is "Life" by way of reconciliation. In this sense, if anyone approached Jesus in "faith", it was to seek reconciliation. Jesus, on one occasion, told His disciples not to rebuke a man who was seeking to exercise power in the name of Jesus because, Jesus said, it would make it very difficult for a person to use His name to accomplish some good thing and then turn around and speak evil of Him. The point being that "harmony" between Jesus and men is a huge issue: Life hangs on it.
- C. The activities are recorded by Luke within a shifting of "men" terms.
- 1. The "men" who brought the incapacitated "man" were "males" (the word typically signifies "husbands") who were carrying a "human being" (the generic term for "man" that is used even when "women" are included).
- a. Luke's use of the word "males" is a deliberate focus upon "actions taken with an objective in mind". "Men", in the sense of this word, are the "determinative contributors" in actions that are seeking to accomplish some objective.
- b. The switch to a "man", in the sense of a human being, in describing the person on the stretcher, seems to make him a "representative of humanity". This is significant in the light of the "problem" -- unforgiven sins.
- c. Thus, the "capable" are carrying the "incapable" to Jesus for a reason: to get a "cure" for his lack of capacity.
- 2. The "intent" and the "actual accomplishment" are also presented with different prepositions. They "intended" to "place him in front of Him" and they actually "placed down him in the midst of Him" (awkward translation needed to point out how they acted). What is seen in the translation is that the words of their intention and actual accomplishment are not the same. Their intention was to get their "man" into the line of Jesus' vision; their action was that they got their "man" into the line of Jesus' attention.
- a. Their "intention" was blocked by the multitude of the self-absorbed (why was it "possible" for the man to carry his "bed" out through the press of the multitude but it had been "impossible" for his friends to carry him in through that same press?).
- b. They, however, determined to seek a way to accomplish their goal.