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Luke Chapter 5:1-39

Distributed by:  Internet Bible Studies

Contact:  David Parham    940-322-4343



Memory verses for this week:  2 Tim 1:13  Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 

Introduction: We continue our study of the book of Luke as we cover chapter 5 this week.   In our study last week, Jesus was tempted by Satan after being in the wilderness 40 days fasting.   Satan tried many ways to tempt Christ, even using the Word of God against Him, but nothing succeeded.    Jesus was the Sinless One, and he never failed one time in His life.  Jesus went to Capernaum where he cast out the demons from a man, and closed the chapter with Jesus healing the mother of Peter’s wife. 

I.   Fishers of Men 

Luke 5:1  And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

Luke 5:2  And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.   

The lake of Gennesaret if the same place known as the sea of Galilee, which was also called the sea of Tiberias.   The propel at this time pressed the Lord that they might hear the Word of God.   Jesus is standing by the sea of Galilee, and sees these two ships with no one on board.   Jesus knew the owners of these boats, and felt perfectly at ease to ask for the use of one of them.   Whatever you and I have, we should always have it available to be used of the Lord.   Jesus enters the ship belonging to Simon Peter.  

Luke 5:3  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Luke 5:4  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Luke 5:5  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.


Jesus asks Peter to thrust out  the ship a ways from the land.  We know this was not the first time the Lord had contacted Peter, because in John chapter 1, when Peter was a disciple of John the Baptist, he had followed Jesus.


John 1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

John 1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

John 1:37  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

John 1:38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

John 1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

John 1:40  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 

Jesus tells Simon to thrust out a bit and to lower his nets.   Peter tries to explain that they had been out fishing all night, and had caught nothing.   Without the Lord, we in our humble lives can accomplish very little.  But Simon, having faith, does as the Lord commands. (although it says he let down ‘the net’ where the Lord said to let down ‘your nets’.)   Sometimes, we may not do all that the Lord commands us to do, and when we do, we don’t accomplish what God would have us to.   Unbelief can cause us to doubt the Lord.

 Luke 5:6  And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

Luke 5:7  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 

We see the results when he let down the net.  So many fish were in it that it brake the net.   So the others come over and help them and they filled up both ships to the point that they were about to sink. 

Luke 5:8  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

Luke 5:9  For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

Luke 5:10  And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Luke 5:11  And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. 

We see the effect that this had on the men.   Peter falls down and says he sinful and unworthy of the Lord.  (Are not we all?)  When one sees things clearly, and sees his or her sinful condition, it will bring us to the point of realizing how unworthy we truly are.   Jesus tells James, John, and Peter that from this day on, they would become fishers of men.   They left their nets and their ships and followed after Christ.   Are you and I willing to drop everything we own and go if the Lord calls?   We sure should be.


II.  Jesus Heals a Leper 

Luke 5:12  And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Luke 5:13  And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 

Leprosy in the bible always typifies sin.  There was no know cure, and when Christ removed it from the leper, he always ‘cleansed’ the person.  There were very strict rules about leprosy in the Old Testament.  A leper had to present himself before a priest to be examined.  If found to be leprous, he was obligated to remain outside the camp, far from the dwelling of healthy people.  He had to put a cover on his upper lip and cry out  “unclean, unclean” to warn others of his condition.   We see Jesus telling the leper to go and show himself to the priest in verse 14. 

Luke 5:14  And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Luke 5:15  But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Luke 5:16  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 

The leper knew that Jesus had the power to heal him.   When he sought him, Jesus responded to the cry of the leper.   When a sinner cries out to the Lord, Jesus always responds to the sinner.   As in salvation, we find total healing of the leper right then.   Jesus tells him to go the priest and offer for his cleansing according to the scriptures.    The more things Jesus did in his healing, the more his fame spread abroad.   In verse 16, it says that Jesus withdrew to the wilderness to pray.  We all need to get alone and talk with God daily. 

III.  Healing and Forgiveness 

Luke 5:17  And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 

On this day, the audience that comes out included the Pharisees and doctors of the law from every town in Galilee, Judaea, and Jerusalem.   It also says the power of the Lord was present to heal them.   They knew that Jesus had healed others, and they bring a man with the palsy to him.

Luke 5:18  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.

Luke 5:19  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.

Luke 5:20  And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 

The man was so sick that he could not bring himself, and his friends come and show great faith.  They can’t get him into the house, so they climb up on top of the house and remove part of tiles to lower him down through the ceiling.   Some might have been discouraged and given up, but not these four men.  They had faith that if they could get the man to Jesus, He would heal him.  When it comes to our lost friends and relatives, we should have this same kind of determination and zeal.   If we can but get the lost person to Christ and get them to really see themselves as a sinner needing a savior, they are very close to salvation.  It simply takes having them to repent and seek Christ, and we know He will not turn anyone away who the Holy Spirit draws unto Him. 

Luke 5:21  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

Luke 5:22  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

Luke 5:23  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 

No matter what  the others thought, Jesus was delighted that they had brought the man suffering with the palsy to Him, and he forgives this man of his sins and saves  him.    He then also heals the man to quiet the Pharisees who claimed He did not have the power to forgive sins.   Here was God in their presence, and they would not acknowledge Jesus for Who He was.  Jesus knew their thoughts and asked them “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?”   

Luke 5:24  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Luke 5:25  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

Luke 5:26  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. 

Jesus performs this great miracle to allow them to see that He had power on earth to both forgive sins and to heal the sick.   He heals the man, and tells him to rise up and take his bed, and go to his own house.    He jumps up, praises God for this miracle of healing, and glorifies the Lord.    The people round about also see the miracle, and they too glorified God.   They were amazed, but also fearful because they had seen strange things this day the scripture says.


IV.  The Call of Matthew 

Luke 5:27  And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

Luke 5:28  And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Luke 5:29  And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 

Jesus comes by this publican who is a tax collector, and bids him to follow.   It says he left all, rose up, and followed him.   And he makes Jesus a great feast in his house and invites a large number to come.   This was Levi’s way of trying to reach some of his friends to be saved.  

V. Jesus Answers the Scribes and Pharisees 

Luke 5:30  But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

Luke 5:31  And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

Luke 5:32  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.   

In these verses, we see the religious folks mumbling.   It is so sad when those who should be closest to the Lord are not concerned with the welfare of others.  Here they try to find fault with Jesus and say he ‘eats and drinks with publicans and sinners.’  I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad he cares about sinners.   Jesus tells them how it is… ‘They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.’   Jesus came to call sinners to repentance.   What they did not realize is they were sinners too, and needed Jesus as much as any other man or woman.   

J. Vernon McGee has this to say about Christ being the Great Physician. 

The scribes and Pharisees asked the disciples why they ate with publicans and sinners. The Lord’s answer was simple and wonderful. He was the Great Physician, and He did not go around healing people that were well! He came to minister to those who were sick with sin. The gospel is really for those who recognize their need. There are some people who think they are too good to be saved. They are not aware of their need. If you recognize that you have a need, then the gospel is for you. Christ can and will save you. If you are self-sufficient, recognize no personal need, and go in your self-chosen pathway, it will lead you to destruction. I am sorry. The Great Physician can do nothing for those who think they are not sick.[i] 

Luke 5:33  And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?

Luke 5:34  And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?

Luke 5:35  But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 

The Pharisees were forever looking to find fault with Jesus.  They ask why do Jesus’ disciples not fast when John’s disciples fasted often.   Jesus tell them that they did not need to do so now because He was with them.  But the day would come when Jesus would be taken away, and in that day, they would fast.


VI.  Parable of the garment and Bottles 

Luke 5:36  And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 

Jesus used this parable to teach that you can not mix law with grace.  They are unique and distinct.  If the law had been perfect and could bring man to perfection, Jesus would not have come to save us from our sins. 

Luke 5:37  And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

Luke 5:38  But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Luke 5:39  No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better. 

The came down from God and says to “This do” and “Thou shalt not do.”  Grace declares the salvation of God which is totally apart from human merit.  We do not earn salvation nor work to get it… it is all of grace and all a gift of God. The living truth of the Gospel can not be simply added to or appended to the ordinances of the law.  The Gospel is FAR superior to the law.  When Christ died on Calvary, he took the handwriting of ordinances against us out of the way and nailed it to His cross. 

Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Col 2:15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Col 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:


The ceremonial part of the law was forever done away with when Christ died there on Calvary.  The ten commandments are still binding today as they were in the days of Moses.   These are rules on how we should live, and not part of the ceremonial law.   The only difference today is we honor the Lord on the first day of the week rather than on the Sabbath. 



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.