Rev. Dr. Don Frazure
In today’s text, there are at least five instances of ordinary people who are made aware of Divine Presence in Jesus. At some point there is a moment when they realize they are no longer speaking with or interacting with just another human, but that this Jesus of Nazareth has authority and power beyond any understanding. In v.8, after hauling in the huge catch of fish – a miracle to them – Simon Peter becomes aware of Divine Presence in Jesus by his asking Jesus to leave him because he realizes his sinfulness. In v. 12, the man with leprosy is aware of Divine Presence in Jesus prompting him to say, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean. The friends of the paralyzed man, hearing the stories about Jesus, do whatever it takes to get their friend to Jesus because they realize the Divine Presence in Jesus that can heal him. (v. 18-20) The fourth instance of awareness of Divine Presence is immediately after Jesus heals the paralytic the people were “gripped with great wonder and awe.” (v.26) Lastly, in v. 27, Levi’s awareness of Divine Presence is what prompts him to leave everything when Jesus says to him, “Follow me and be my disciple.” I have become increasingly interested in spiritual matters. This interest is not only in tending to my spiritual life, but in becoming more aware of, and indeed, becoming less apprehensive of, if not embracing, the spiritual movement of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. While I experience God’s presence mostly during worship, I find myself being witness to God’s Divine Presence in much more mundane circumstances. Simple moments where God lets me know that He is there and present with me in that moment. These moments are tangible and feel like he is literally in the room with me. I wonder if my experiences are anything like those in Luke 5. Of course, I’m not interacting with Jesus in the flesh, but I am no less aware of his presence in that moment. Well, isn’t that the point? We have the Holy Spirit who is very much present in our lives, and we should be just as aware and interactive with the Holy Spirit as if Jesus Christ in the flesh were there with us. This is one of those passages that I think we look at and see as something that happened then, but not today. Maybe we would see miracles once again if we truly accepted and were aware of the Divine Presence of Jesus who is always with us.
Have you ever been unwelcome? Not just denied, but rejected? Jesus made the rejected of his world a priority. Prostitutes, tax collectors, widows, orphans, the sick, and the demon-possessed. The sinners. These were the people that Jesus poured into and cared about. And these are the same people that we should pour into and care about as well. Luke 5:31 – Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke