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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

April 7th, 2024: Faith of the Persistent- Luke 5:17-26

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

(Matthew 9:21).


Persistence is a word that's not used very much in today’s culture.  The dictionary defines persistence as firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.  Most Christians could define persistence as a daily call to battle against self-will, a determination to trust Jesus to take us all the way from here to Heaven; enduring to the end. We can’t earn our own way to Heaven, that comes only by the cross of Calvary, but we can increase our faith and our firmness of purpose and belief in the word of God.  We might say as Paul did, we fight the good fight of faith, trusting that with every temptation comes a way of escape.  To be persistent takes strong will, self-control, a mind made up, solid rock-hard conviction, and steadfastness over the long haul. But you will never have to do this on your own.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher, our guide, and the power that enables us to live the Christian life.  Today’s lesson is about Persistence. Are we persistent in our faith? Can we have confidence when the costs are high, when the effort it takes is great?  Or, as some say, do we have a lot of “quit” in us?


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. 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. 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.


Notice how Luke introduces this event. The Pharisees and doctors of the law are present.  Why?  It doesn’t say exactly, but the power of the Lord is present to heal them.  The crowd Jesus has following him this day includes the intelligentsia of that day.  Notice that we start off immediately with a comparison.  There is also a man with palsy present, with four friends that know if they can get him to Jesus, he can be healed. One group not realizing any need, and one group desperately in need. We see Pharisees and doctors of the law who know about God, the commandments, the words of Moses, and four men in simple faith believing Jesus. Persistence potentially from both groups. The power was present to heal them all.  


And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?


Persistence from Jesus!  He doesn’t miss an opportunity to show who He is and what He came to share.  Yet again, another comparison.  He has deliberately healed on Sabbath days (previous accounts),  though the rule keeper Pharisees said He broke the law,  the crowds present were able to physically see the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the demons cast out and the curing of all manner of illness. Jesus deliberately shows another level of his authority as God by forgiving sin - an action that they cannot physically see.  Why?  His time is short and His message is very large.  He, with tenacity, teaches and shows the proof.  If we have learned anything over the past few lessons on faith it is that we must increase our faith.  Persistent, determined, tenacious faith comes by hearing, believing, and acting on the word of God. 


But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 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.


Which group are you in?  Are you persistently fighting against the word of God, looking for reasons to discredit all or some part of his teaching?  Are you finding fault on purpose, thinking you don’t need anything from Jesus?  Or are you like the four men carrying their friend?  He is in bad shape and cannot do very much for himself at all.   Would you be willing to carry your friend in his bed, up on a roof, tear off the roof, and lower him down to get him in front of Jesus, the one who can fix and handle his need? That kind of Christian determination takes deliberate, loving, thought-out persistence.  How important is it to get our lost ones to Jesus?  What effort will you extend?  God hears the thoughts and intents of your heart.  


And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.


One final comparison.  Who is happy at this result?  Who is rejoicing that the effort paid off?  Who is not?  Jesus did not fail - the man rose up, picked up the bed, and walked. Interestingly, they are amazed, giving glory to God, and fearful…Fearful?  They indeed have seen strange things.   We have seen strange things.  Each of our lives has beheld situations and circumstances that were fixed in a miraculous way by the same God.


It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31).


For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: (2 Timothy 4: 3-9).


Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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