And they were all amazed and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today. Luke 5:26
Medical doctors are unusual people in that they have well-trained eyes to notice the details that others simply cannot see and well trained ears to hear the details others miss. Luke was such a man. He was a follower of the Apostle Paul as Paul carried the gospel message to the Gentiles. It is widely accepted that Luke was a Greek, a Gentile physician and that he wrote the gospel that bears his name and also the Book of Acts. I can only imagine his life as he accompanied Paul, the spitfire apostolic preacher, throughout his many journeys.
In the gospel that bears his name, Luke records an event during the ministry of Jesus in which Jesus heals a lame man. While Luke was not an eye witness to these events, his hand recorded the minute details his ears heard. Luke 5:17-26
- 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.
- 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.
- 20. And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee,
- 21. And the scribes and Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
- 22. But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?
- 23. Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
- 24. But that ye may know the Son of man hath power upon the 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.
- 25. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
- 26. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.
While there so many things in this passage that we could discuss, I want to focus on the POWER of the Lord today.
Notice in verse 17 that the POWER of the Lord was present with Jesus. Wherever Jesus went, He carried POWER in His presence. As He was preparing His disciples for His death and departure, He told them, “And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” John 14:16. Before His ascension into heaven, the last words Jesus spoke upon this earth were, “But you shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit is come upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” Acts 1:8.
The very same power that Jesus carried into the house where miraculous healings took place resides within Holy Spirit filled disciples of Jesus Christ today.
The Gospel of Mark tells us that after the resurrection of Jesus, He appeared to the eleven remaining disciples. Judas had committed suicide and only eleven of the original disciples were left. They had just sat down for supper when Jesus suddenly makes an appearance in the room.
Notice that the first thing He does to these loyal followers whom He dearly loved is chastise them for their unbelief and their hard hearts. Mark records the following in 16:14-18
- 14. Afterward He appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen
- 15. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
- 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
- 17. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues:
- 18. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.
Wow! Talk about strange things!
Now, keep in mind that Jesus is NOT telling the disciples to go out and drink poison or pick up snakes. He is speaking to the healing power within Holy Spirit filled followers. So many unlearned, weak-minded people misinterpret this passage and end up experiencing agonizing deaths by their own hands.
Just as the poisonous snake came out of the fire and wrapped itself around the arm of Paul as he sat sharing the gospel after the shipwreck on the island of Melita, he shook that messenger of Satan into the fire and felt no harm. THAT is what Jesus meant. We aren’t to intentionally pick up a timber rattler or lift a toast with a cup of hemlock, but should something happen, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us has the healing power to protect us from harm if our earthly work is not finished.
I am reminded of the quote from the Tom Hanks classic film, Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.” We need to ensure we rightly divide the Word. (2 Timothy 2:15)
When the natives of Melita saw how Paul was miraculously preserved from the deadly venom of the snake in Acts 28:5, they were awestruck and even thought that Paul was some kind of god. The chief of the natives was so impressed with what he had seen happen to Paul, he invited him into his home where his father lay gravely ill. Paul laid his hands on the man in prayer and the man immediately recovered. As word spread like wildfire, the rest of the sick on the island were brought to Paul for him to pray and lay hands.
Just as Jesus said in verse 18 above, the natives saw it happen before their amazed eyes: “They shall take up serpents…it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
I can imagine the natives went about the island saying the same things the crowd was saying when they saw Jesus heal the lame man in Luke 16:18, “We have seen strange things today.”
Did Paul have something that we do not have today? Why was it that Paul could lay hands on the sick and they recovered? Why was Paul unfazed by the snakebite and simply shook that deadly creature into the fire and continued sharing the gospel with unbelievers? The former persecutor of Christians spoke in a bold new tongue of the gospel of Jesus Christ preaching everywhere he went, he cast out demons from those who were possessed, he laid hands on the sick and they recovered and even handkerchiefs that he prayed over and anointed were sent to the sick and they were healed.
What was it that Paul had that we do not have today? Nothing. Paul had nothing that we do not have today. The same Holy Spirit that dwelt in the great Apostle Paul dwells in Holy Spirit filled believers today.
But what made Paul different? When Jesus called Paul, Paul committed 100%, holding nothing back from the Lord. Paul’s unfettered love and zeal for Christ was evident to everyone, He spent time in communion with the Lord. Paul spoke to the Lord continually, the name of Jesus Christ was constantly on his lips. He even advised us, “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He was well-versed in scripture, Paul knew the Law, having studied under the great scholar, Gamaliel. He had such a holy boldness that he stepped without hesitation before powerful rulers declaring the name of Jesus. Even while bound in prison he sang praises to the Lord and shared the gospel with prisoners and jailers alike.
Paul had the power of the Holy Spirit within him and he used it boldly. He knew exactly what Jeremiah meant when he said, “‘But if I say, I will not mention His Word or speak anymore His name,’ His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
Paul didn’t hold it in. He let out. Full throttle. And with that Holy Spirit power, Paul has led untold millions of people to Jesus Christ through the life that he lived and the words that he wrote.
What about you? Would Jesus chastise you for your unbelief and hard heart as He did the disciples? Or like Jeremiah and Paul, do you have the fire shut up in your bones and you can no longer hold it in?
If Holy Spirit filled believers TRULY get into the Word of God, pray earnestly and step out boldly, we can utilize the power promised to us by Jesus Christ Himself and once again bring revival and miracles into this world of such moral and spiritual decay. As people hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, commit their lives to following Him and see the fires of revival spread like a raging inferno, the world will certainly look upon it saying, “We have seen strange things today“!
Be blessed today, my friends, and if I don’t meet you again here, I hope to meet you over there!