Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Luke 5:15-16

15 But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.

The Original Intent

1) What makes the connecting word “but” in verse 15 so important?

Finding the connection from one verse to another is an essential practice for those desiring to understand the principles of God. We ponder the passages and meditate on what is written to get to know the Author of Scripture. This is our goal: knowing God.

They may be small words, but those “connecting words (conjunctions) join clauses, passages, paragraphs and chapters, linking the writer’s train of thought into a cohesive unit. [They] are huge in helping us discover the intent of the passage we are studying.” (Precept Austin)

To grasp the potency of these two verses in Luke 5, we need to know that soon after Jesus’ baptism (which marked the beginning of His earthly ministry), news about Him spread like wildfire throughout the region. (Luke 3:23, Luke 4:14)

Everywhere He went, large crowds met Him with praise as well as criticism. (Luke 4:15, Luke 4:28) The most recent news was the healing of man with leprosy. (Luke 5:12-14) Jesus had ordered the man not to speak of the healing, “but news about Him spread even more.” (verse 15) The Bible writer Mark tells us the man deliberately disobeyed Jesus. (Mark 1:43-45)

Though He knew His purpose for coming to earth (Luke 4:43), Jesus wanted to delay that revelation for a time. He had His reasons (don’t miss Question 3!). We learn later in the book of Luke the healing of lepers was a signal of the Messiah’s arrival. (Luke 7:18-22)

Based on the actions of Jesus after the large crowd began to show up, we learn that for Him to find solitude, He needed to be intentional.

The Everyday Application

1) What makes the connecting word “but” in verse 15 so important?

When we casually read verse 15, I wonder if we feel the impact of what was happening. If you were to Google the phrase “news spreads” the hits would keep coming! As a result, we may miss the significance of the reality that “the news about Him spread even more.

In 2022, we are accustomed to news traveling fast. It’s part of our culture. We have been conditioned to a “world-wide web” of connection. But this “viral news” was different! Jesus healed a leprous man, then specifically told him (some Bible versions say “ordered him”) to not speak to anyone but go directly to the priest. Jesus had made a request for a reason (John 6:14-15).

Although He certainly knew His request would not be honored, Jesus was constantly training His followers through His instructions, His compassion, His wisdom, and His public and private prayer times and boundaries. In a short period of time, in a culture where news traveled by word of mouth only, news had spread about Jesus.

People came to Him for all kinds of reasons driven by many different motives. Jesus’ response was to have compassion on them. (Matthew 9:36)

I love that Jesus’ heart was for all people, especially the broken and burdened. How did He accomplish His mission with such determination amid so many interruptions?

As we dig deeper into Scripture, we discover the Source of His strength. Christine so beautifully reminded us to look closely at small words to discover big meaning, “But in between these big ministry moments, Jesus stole some time to sit by the lake alone.”

The Original Intent

2) Why did large crowds gather around Jesus? (verse 15)

Large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.” Jesus’ reputation preceded Him in all the surrounding areas of Jerusalem. (Luke 5:17) Once news began to spread throughout the region, people came to Jesus for many reasons.

The gospels mention miracles of all kinds like speaking to storms (Matthew 8:23-27), deliverance from demons (Mark 1:23-28), healing disease (Luke 8:43-48), giving sight to the blind (Matthew 9:27-31), causing lame persons to walk (Matthew 9:1-8), provisions of food and drink for a multitude (Matthew 14:13-21, John 2:1-11), and even resurrection (Luke 7:11-17John 11:38-45). Jesus wanted the weary and burdened to come to Him. He said about Himself in Matthew 11:29 that He was “lowly and humble” and would provide rest for the weary and hurting. This is why people came.

Although Jesus knew many people showed up for what they could get from Him (John 6), He never stopped healing and restoring. Sometimes He said things that were challenging to hear, hard to accept, and difficult to obey. Because of this, many walked away. Yet many others still came to Him, even following Him as He sought to be alone after receiving sad news about His friend John. (Matthew 14:6-13Jesus continued seeing them, caring for them, and healing them. (Matthew 14:13-14)

When they didn’t honor His request to keep His miracles to themselves, He repeatedly healed and restored. And He kept going to the Father to find strength and comfort and wisdom for His task.

The Everyday Application

2) Why did large crowds gather around Jesus? (verse 15)

In the 1960s (no cellphone, no social media or modern gadgets like today), Charles Hummel published a small pamphlet entitled, “Tyranny of the Urgent”. In it, he discusses the tension between the urgent and the important, recognizing how the urgent too often wins. Even then, in what was considered a simpler time, it quickly became a business classic. We know it because the urgent needs of “the crowd” have always been with us. (bible.org)

The crowd includes the inquisitive ones, the frantic ones, the skeptical ones, the hopeful ones, and the desperate ones, each looking for the One they’d heard about from others. They all came. (Matthew 4:23-5:10) The diseased and the lame and the abused came. Both the young and old, and the poor and prestigious sought Jesus. (Matthew 8:1-16) These same members of “the crowd” are urgently looking for us, too.

Maybe you’re in a season where you feel the responsibility of so many needy people in your circle of relationships.

Dear Sister, are you weighed down with the burdens of all the people? “The crowd” will always exist, waiting for you just outside your door. The only way to know the power and peace of God is to consistently find a time and place to meet with Him. I’m so thankful our sweet Savior gave us the example of how to focus on what is important in the days of the urgent pressing.

The Original Intent

3) Does the response of Jesus in verse 16 seem inappropriate and selfish?

Making time for solitude and prayer was a consistent practice for the One who drew the crowds. (Mark 1:32-38) We might think Jesus would want everyone to know about His miracles. Didn’t He care about all those with needs? Why would He withdraw as more and more people were coming to Him?

Jesus knew that too much visibility and hype would impede the timing and purpose of His mission. Mark records the incident of the healed leper with some explanation of why Jesus had requested discretion regarding the healing. (Mark 1:45) Jesus’ determination to remove Himself from crowds was two-fold. 1) To manage the timing of accomplishing His mission and 2) To maintain the strength He needed from His Father to continue in the mission.

His prayers recorded in John 17 give us insight into Jesus’ relationship with His Father as He had waited for the right time to come and fulfill His mission on earth. In His humanity, Jesus was dependent on the Father’s will and work. (Luke 22:39-46) He chose to submit to God the Father by quietly slipping away from the crowds to make His requests known within the space of shared intimacy through prayer.

While we may not completely understand how the LORD Jesus became an obedient Son (Hebrews 5:7-10Philippians 2:5-8), we know He “often withdrew” because He desired to be with His Father in uninterrupted communion.

The Everyday Application

3) Does the response of Jesus in verse 16 seem inappropriate and selfish?

“And large crowds would come together … yet He often withdrew.” The importance of withdrawing must not be overlooked. (The Difficult Habit of Quiet)

One day, Jesus was with some friends of His who were sisters. (Luke 10:38-42) One of them, Martha, was busy serving Him. (Serving Jesus is most definitely not a bad thing!) Mary had found her way to a spot with Jesus. After Martha complained about it, Jesus answered, “Mary has made the right choice.” (Luke 10:42)

Perhaps you’ve heard that story way too much and you are over it. I get it! How are we to find a spot to be with Jesus in between all the needs around us. There’s so much work to be done! Yet our Lord Jesus deliberately and consistently found a way to be alone with the Father. He gave us the answer and the example. He knew the importance of the discipline of solitude. “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’” (Mark 6:30-31, emphasis mine)

Yes, people beckon us from everywhere. We face trouble on all sides. If we don’t help them, who will?! But the Lord beckons us to Himself. (Isaiah 30:15-18)

O soul are you weary and troubled
no light in the darkness you see.
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
and life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!
(Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus)

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