Introduction: Every morning we begin a new day during which we can
advance the Kingdom of God. Are you thinking of the possibilities for
“disciple work” each morning? What kinds of opportunities are
present? Is it enough to keep our eyes open to see what we can do to
promote God’s work? Or, should we be more active and search out
opportunities? Is it possible that if we are already doing something,
it is the wrong thing? Let’s dive into our lesson to observe some
disciples in action!

  1. The Paralytic and His Friends

    1. Read Luke 5:17. If this were you instead of Jesus, would
      you be nervous? (All these important leaders from all
      over had come to observe Jesus.)

      1. Why were they present? (Some commentaries I read said
        they were present to be critical and to catch Jesus
        doing something wrong. Another commentary said that
        they had the right and obligation to be sure that
        blasphemy and false teaching did not take place, so
        they were just doing their jobs.)

        1. Whichever of the commentaries are correct, what
          is the common element on which they agree? (That
          these leaders were there to pay close attention
          to what Jesus said. It was not a social visit.)

        2. How about you? Should you be alert to those who
          want to do you harm because you promote the
          gospel? (Yes. You should ask God to give you
          wisdom and common sense in your work.)

      2. We discussed two weeks ago the issue of having
        “authority” to perform miracles. When the text says
        “the power of the Lord was present for Him to heal
        the sick,” does that mean that Jesus had to be given
        “authority” to perform miracles and He did not have
        that authority all the time? (The commentary “Word
        Pictures in the New Testament” says the Greek is hard
        to translate into English. The text does not mean
        the power of Jesus to heal was intermittent. Instead,
        it puts the terms “Jehovah” and “dynamite” together.
        My thought is “Dynamite Jesus” was there in the face
        of all of these powerful leaders. Jesus was
        “packing” power!)

    2. Read Mark 2:2. Let’s see what Mark adds to this story.
      What do you think was Jesus’ first priority: preaching or
      healing? (Preaching. My feeling is that His healing arose
      from this: 1)His heart for suffering people; 2)His desire
      to attract people to His preaching; and, 3) The “proof” of
      His authority as the Messiah to skeptical outsiders like
      the Jewish leaders. His preaching of the gospel must have
      been His first priority.)

      1. How about your work? Should you start with
        preaching? Or, is helping those around you the best
        way to start? (Imagine the harm done to the gospel if
        you are a mean, grasping, unpleasant person and you
        decide to share the gospel.)

    3. Read Luke 5:18-19. How do you like it when you are
      interrupted in your speaking? How do you like it when
      your first priority is interrupted by others?

      1. Imagine preaching and all of a sudden there is this
        big noise of digging and scraping in the roof. This
        is followed by junk falling down on the crowd and on
        you. Then all of a sudden everyone is distracted by
        this fellow being let down right between you and your
        audience. Would you consider the people who were
        breaking up the roof to be inconsiderate and rude?

      2. Put yourself in the place of the friends of the
        paralyzed guy. Would you take one look at the crowd
        and decide to come back tomorrow?

        1. What motivated them to persist?

        2. Do you consider them to be inconsiderate and
          rude? Or, loving, caring and resourceful in
          helping their friend?

    4. Read Luke 5:20. How did Jesus react? Was He irritated by
      their rudeness?

      1. Step back a minute and consider the digging and
        Jesus’ preaching. Is the digging a good thing for
        what happens next? (Yes. It focused the attention of
        the people on what Jesus said and did to the
        paralyzed guy. The digging was an unexpected blessing
        to Jesus’ ministry. We should look for the positive
        side of interruptions.)

      2. On what did Jesus base His conclusion about”their”
        faith ( Luke 5:20)? (Their persistent faith was
        manifest in digging – it was shown by their works!
        Want to show your faith today? Do something!)

      3. Who is referred to when the Bible says “their” faith?

      4. Put yourself in the place of the paralyzed guy. You
        can think, see and talk, but you have some major
        limitation on your ability to move. So, you are about
        to get lowered down through a roof. If someone makes
        a mistake in rope-handling you could get dropped on
        your head from the rafters. Would you vote for this?

        1. What if they dropped you? Would you have faith
          Jesus could heal you anyway?

        2. Perhaps Jesus’ faith experience for you today
          requires you to step outside your comfort zone,
          expose yourself to getting “dropped on your

    5. Let’s look at Luke 5:20 again. Wait a minute! The problem
      is that this fellow is paralyzed. Put yourself in the
      place of the friends. You just got through the work and
      embarrassment of digging through the roof in front of this
      big crowd. Instead of healing your friend, Jesus says
      “Your sins are forgiven.” How do you feel?

      1. Why would Jesus be talking about sins? (Read John
        9:1-3. The common perception was that sickness was
        caused by sin. Some, obviously, was. Whether the
        paralytic’s sickness was caused by sin or whether he
        merely thought it came from his sin, apparently his
        sin was his first concern. Jesus addressed his first

    6. Read Luke 5:21. The authorities are paying attention to
      this! Are their thoughts correct? (Yes. Only God can
      forgive sins.)

      1. What point is Luke making to us? (Jesus is God.)

    7. Read Luke 5:22-23. What is the answer to Jesus’ question?
      Which is easier to say?

      1. If you answered “Your sins are forgiven,” are you

    8. Read Luke 5:24-25. If the teachers of the law had not been
      thinking critical thoughts, would this paralyzed guy have
      been healed? (Don’t miss the fact that Jesus knows your

    9. Compare what the teachers of the law are doing to promote
      the gospel compared to the friends of the paralyzed guy?
      Which are you more like in your daily discipleship?

    10. If you were in the crowd, would you be convinced by Jesus’
      logic? Is it logical to believe that everyone who heals
      can also forgive sins? (It is true that healing comes from
      the power of God. But not everyone who heals is God. I
      think Jesus was making a different argument. The critics
      were saying, “This is just hot (and blasphemous) air.
      Anyone can say anything.” Jesus shows that His words have
      power. When He says I can forgive sins, they need to take
      His words seriously.)

    11. Read Luke 5:26. Notice the people praised God. Why didn’t
      they praise Jesus? (They believed that Jesus was the
      Messiah. They believed Jesus was God.)

      1. Is praising God part of our work as disciples?

  2. Fire and Friends

    1. Read Luke 12:47-48. Aren’t you glad that you are reading
      this lesson? Now, if you do nothing, you get more badly
      beaten up! Is that Jesus’ point? (That is part of it. I
      think Jesus has something deeper in mind. How many of us
      look around and feel good about ourselves because of the
      pagan slugs around us? Jesus is warning us against that
      kind of attitude. The true disciple is working to advance
      the kingdom and not smirking at the less faithful.)

    2. Read Luke 12:49-51. And here I am singing about the
      “Prince of Peace!” Is this an example for us? To bring
      about division wherever we go?

      1. Compare John 14:27. How can Jesus say that He is
        bringing division and peace?

      2. Compare Matthew 17:27. Why would Jesus want to avoid
        offending people that He wants to divide?

    1. Let’s continue reading Luke 12:52-53. Why will Jesus bring
      division within families?

    2. Let’s go back and look again at Luke 12:49-50. Why should
      Jesus talk about His own “baptism” in this context? (I
      think what Jesus faced is an example for us. Jesus was not
      trying to create enemies. His goal was peace. But, he had
      a difficult road ahead of Him in His goal of bringing
      peace (with God) to us and bringing peace (in the triumph
      against sin) to the universe. We are not to try to create
      division. But until our goal is reached, the gospel
      creates division. I have a co-worker who I do not know
      well. He is Jewish and he converted to Christianity. His
      father recently died and I saw the service was in a
      synagogue. That told me a great deal about the division
      issue in his life.)

  1. Final Instructions

    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. Why does Jesus begin this
      instruction by saying that all authority has been given to
      Him? (The disciples have something astonishing to talk
      about. Jesus won the victory over sin. He now has all
      authority. He is worthy of being followed.)

      1. What are we to do in response to Jesus’ victory?
        (Make other disciples.)

        1. What do we do with these disciples? (Baptize
          them and then teach them.)

      2. What assurance do we have in this mission? (That
        Jesus will be with us until His Second Coming when He
        takes us home with Him.)

    2. Friend, I started out asking you how you should approach
      each day. It seems we should keep our eyes open for what
      we can do, but we should also be deliberate in promoting
      the gospel. We should be like the friends helping the
      paralyzed guy rather than the leaders looking for faults
      in Jesus. We should make disciples, not critique them.
      Will you commit to doing that today?

  2. Next week: Discipleship Under Pressure.