Fraud or God: Luke 5:17-26

Focus Passage: Luke 5:17-26 (CEV)

17 One day some Pharisees and experts in the Law of Moses sat listening to Jesus teach. They had come from every village in Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem.

God had given Jesus the power to heal the sick, 18 and some people came carrying a crippled man on a mat. They tried to take him inside the house and put him in front of Jesus. 19 But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they went up on the roof, where they removed some tiles and let the mat down in the middle of the room.

20 When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the experts began arguing, “Jesus must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said, “Why are you thinking that? 23 Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? 24 But now you will see that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” Jesus then said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk home.”

25 At once the man stood up in front of everyone. He picked up his mat and went home, giving thanks to God. 26 Everyone was amazed and praised God. What they saw surprised them, and they said, “We have seen a great miracle today!”

Read Luke 5:17-26 in context and/or in other translations on!

There are many passages that tell us about times where the religious leaders, priests, Pharisees, and “experts” challenge Jesus; however, there is something unique about this particular time. In this passage, we read about Jesus being interrupted by a group of persistent men who want their crippled friend healed.

However, after the commotion and confusion of them removing tiles in the ceiling to let extra sunlight into the home, and lowering their friend down on a mat with ropes, Jesus simply tells the man that his sins are forgiven.

However this causes quite a stir among the experts and Pharisees: “The Pharisees and the experts began arguing, ‘Jesus must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.’” (v. 21)

This sets up an interesting context for this miracle. While Jesus is on trial for His claim in these leaders’ eyes, God is also on trial, because what happens next can just as easily reflect on God as it can on Jesus. In these leaders’ eyes, Jesus is stepping in and trying to take the place of God – which is among the worst sins possible.

God is also on trial here, because the question ringing in everyone’s mind is whether God would support someone trying to claim to be Him. If the healing never occurred, then God would have shown Jesus to be a fraud, and the Pharisee’s and religious experts would have one more example of what happens when sinners become too prideful towards God; but if the man is healed, then God must clearly support Jesus, even if it looks as though He is stealing the spotlight.

In this event and miracle, Jesus draws a clear line for everyone to see; Jesus is different and God supports His miracles.

Is Jesus a fraud or is He God? This miracle makes Jesus’ claim clear.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

Subscribe to this blog and never miss an insight.