A Jesus for the Broken
Pastor Duane Smets
April 2nd, 2017
I. The Doubting
II. The Dirty
III. The Damned
Are you guys ready for Luke today? I don’t know about you all but I’m having such a great time going through the book of Luke with all of you so far this year.
There’s something about Jesus where He can just start to seem familiar and we assume we kind of know everything there is to know about Him. But as we are reading through and studying Luke’s account of Jesus’ life and time on earth I’m finding myself not only learning new things but sort of seeing Him with fresh eyes and finding myself amazed at Him all over again.
If you’re new or kinda newer to our church, one of the things you’ll discover is that we’re a pretty simple church. We like the Bible and we like Jesus. We believe He is real and alive and is leading us and that He loves us and we have a lot of fun following Him and having Him work in our lives…both for our good, the good of our city and ultimately for God’s glory.
Last week we looked at a few scenes that took place when Jesus first started His teaching, preaching and healing ministry where we got to see and hear what Jesus think about church. He had a really bad church experience like a lot of us and starts His ministry saying that He wants His churches to be places where all kinds of people can experience His goodness and God’s favor.
This week we’re going to see Jesus invites some guys into a three-year apprenticeship journey with Him and in the middle of that heal a couple dudes, one who has leprosy and one who’s paralyzed. In each scene today, we’re going to see a different type of person who’s broken and how Jesus takes their brokenness into His hands and restores these people. All the scenes kind of go together and culminate in this statement of Jesus where He says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…[are those] I’ve come to call. ”
So what we’re going to learn about today is how Jesus is the doctor of our souls, which is why I titled my sermon for today, “A Jesus For The Broken.” You may have heard the saying, “time heals all wounds.” What we’re going to see and learn and hopefully come to believe today is that “Jesus heals all wounds.” That’s what I hope we walk out of here today thinking about and remembering, that “Jesus heals all wounds.”
Let’s go ahead and read the section from the Bible about this. Why don’t you stand with me in honor of this record not only being a historical document written by Luke but a spiritual document that God had Luke write so that through it, we could come to know Jesus.
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
• Pastoral Declaration: This is the Word of the Lord.
• Congregational Response: Thanks Be To God.
• Pastoral Prayer
“A Jesus For The Broken.” Each one of the people in these stories today are broken in different ways. The fisherman’s brokenness gets revealed in their skepticism about Jesus, the leper’s brokenness gets revealed in his feeling of worthlessness, and the paralyzed dude and tax collector’s brokenness gets revealed in their loneliness and complete rejection from society.
Broken. Broken people. Really, all the stories of the Bible are about broken people and the big story of the Bible that ties them all together is a story about the human race being broken and that God is a God who cares for broken people and gives Himself to them that they might be healed.
Before we jump into these stories, can I just you what some of the lowest moments of your life have been? You know, where all the self-confidence and surety is gone and you have felt completely broken and helpless. The low low. Those times where you felt your brokenness deep down.
Have you had times like that? Each person in the stories today meets Jesus out of a place of real brokenness. So in order for us to enter in, I think we need to be able to identify with that brokenness.
For some of you, there are things that probably come to mind right away…times of brokenness. For some of you, maybe it’s been awhile and it’s easy to forget what that felt like. For others of you, maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and you barely made it here today because the truth is deep down your soul feels crushed. Or you’re here and you don’t think you are broken and what you really need today is for God to break you.
To be broken is brutal, but when we humbly bear our brokenness and give it to God, He does incredible things with it. He’s a God who heals our brokenness.
Psalm 103:2-4 says it this way in the Bible, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, and who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.”
This is the God I want to share with you today. So let’s get into it. Three types of broken people from the stories of Jesus today, “The Doubting, The Dirty and the Damned.”
I. The Doubting
The first group of broken people here are the fisherman. Being a fisherman wasn’t that great of a job. Not a desirable one at least. Long odd hours. Back breaking work. A smelly job and they didn’t make that much money.
Things are not going well for them. They fished all night long when fishing is normally best but caught nothing. They’re washing their big trammel nets and putting them away. They’re tired. Worn out and discouraged. This guy Simon and two brothers, James and John have sunk their money into this boat and equipment as business partners but the business is not going well.
Then, along comes this carpenter turned rabbi teacher guy Jesus, all bright eyed from a fresh night of sleep and says, “Hey, guys let’s take the boat out and go get some fish!”
How do you think you’d feel? Ever had a hard day at work and at the end of the day, you just can’t wait to leave and go home? Ever been worried about money and whether you’re going to be able to make enough? Then, how about this, ever had someone come along who thinks they know how to do your job better and criticizes you?
That’s where these guys are at. Jesus wasn’t a fisherman. He was a carpenter and now a Bible preacher. What the heck does He know about fishing? It was a bad time to go.
But, out of respect, Peter says okay. He calls him “master” which was a term acknowledging the rabbi teacher role Jesus had taken on. Simon clearly doesn’t want to go fishing anymore but says he’ll do it out of respect for this rabbi. He’s not happy about it. Just subservient. He doesn’t have any real belief that there’s anything special about this Jesus guy and that going out fishing with Him is going to be worth their time at all.
So reluctantly, they go fishing and lo and behold they catch more fish than they ever have before, so much that they fill two boats with fish and the boats start to sink because of it. It’s an amount of fish so ridiculous it’s nothing short of a real divine miracle. That’s what the fisherman conclude.
Let’s look for a minute at Simon’s response, who’s really speaking on behalf of all of them. Verses 8-9 “When Simon Peter saw it (all the fish), he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken.”
First, falling down Jesus' feet was an act of worship which was reserved for worshipping God alone. So in this act, Peter is acknowledging that something divine has just taken place through Jesus.
Second, Peter is completely humbled. He automatically recognizes the folly of his doubt about Jesus and senses deep down his brokenness. In that moment, Peter is able to see into his own soul and sees his pride where he thought he knew better than Jesus. He sees his failure to really recognize Jesus for who He really was. And he sees how he wasn’t really believing anything that Jesus had been saying and teaching. It all gets compiled together in this simple and true acknowledgment of Peter, “I am a sinful man.” He says, “I’m broken.”
And now he doesn’t call Jesus the obligatory term of respect, “master” but calls Jesus “Lord.” It’s a statement of faith. Now Peter believes. Now he knows. And he’s scared because he’s come to believe Jesus is God’s Son, Jesus has seen into his brokenness and disbelief and he thinks Jesus will surely reject him, that he ought to be rejected, so he says, “depart from me.”
Now, we’ll talk about Jesus response to Peter and the guys in a minute, but first let’s really take this in.
Have you ever had doubts about whether God exists? Have you ever doubted whether the things the Bible says are true? Have you ever wondered thought Jesus was just a good human teacher and had trouble believing He was anything more?
I think the answer for all of us, if we’re honest, is yeah! I mean who doesn’t? Who hasn’t? If you’re here today and you’ve got doubts about God and all this Jesus and Bible stuff, then you’re in good company. That’s where Jesus’ first disciples were at before they became Jesus disciples.
In fact, I don’t think that anyone can ever really become a Christian, a true follower of Jesus Christ without asking those questions and then becoming sufficiently convinced that Jesus is worth trusting in. The clincher for me is in how Jesus’ responds to those who’ve doubted him.
Peter expects Jesus to reject him because he didn’t believe. We tend to think God gets mad at us for doubting and questioning Him. But instead, Jesus here shows us God’s heart. In response to Peter, he says “Don’t be afraid.” I’m not mad, I’m not leaving you and instead Jesus offers Peter and the other fisherman a job, where they get to go with Jesus on the road and apprentice him for three years day in and day out.
It was basically like an offer to go to college. Back then you had to petition a rabbi to take you on and no rabbi ever, had ever or ever would have taken on fisherman as their apprentices. But Jesus offers it to these guys and now because of the money they made from the haul of fish, they can afford to leave their jobs and do it and they do.
For us today, do you feel like you’re not good enough to be a Christian because of the questions and doubts you have? Are you afraid that if God really knew what you were like beneath the surface, behind the scenes, that He wouldn’t want you?
If so, then you’re the exact kind of person Jesus is looking for to be one of His disciples. Jesus design is for us to follow Him and come to see, experience and believe in His truth and His grace.
All of us are broken in this way. None of us believe enough. We get skeptical about God and His love for us. But the level of our faith has never been a condition for Jesus. He welcomes us in and invites us to walk with Him, so that we might be saved and bring a whole lot of other people into that boat with us.
Jesus is a Jesus for the doubting. If we turn to Him and ask Him, He will answer our questions and show Himself to be the savior He claims to be. Jesus heals all wounds. Even our wounded pride and egos.
Well, Jesus is not only a Jesus for the doubting but also the dirty. So let’s move on to our the second type of broken person Jesus ministers to here in the story of Him healing a leper.
II. The Dirty
This scene is a powerful scene where the compassion of Jesus shown in it is truly remarkable and deeply moving. A guy comes along who is a leper asking Jesus to heal him.
Leprosy in Bible times stood for a number of diseases. Primarily what we now call Hansesn’s disease, psoriasis, lupus, ringworm, and favus. They are all diseases that show visibly on a person’s skin and body in either rashes, boils, or scab-like marks. I was curious this week so I looked up pictures on Google. It’s pretty gross.
Today, with modern medicine there’s a number of ways we treats these ailments but back during Jesus day they didn’t have much. So the law of the land said that lepers had to be quarantined. They created these leper colonies and then if a leper ever ventured outside of it, they were required to call out “unclean, unclean” so that everyone would keep their distance.
So with lepers, they not only endured the physical pain of the disease but the social ostracization along with it and not only that but the psychological effects of that on a person’s state of mind. You can almost hear the pain in the man’s voice in our story.
Verse 12 says, “When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, ‘Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” When I imagine this scene I’m pretty sure he’s there on his knees in tears, crying, “Lord, please, please, make me clean. Help me.”
When was the last time you were sick? Do you remember what it was like? How you felt? The thoughts that go through your mind when you’re sick?
We’ve got people in our church who have dealt and are dealing with terrible, scary things…multiple people with cancer, one of our members currently having chemo treatments. We’ve got people with heart conditions, autoimmune illness, chronic back pain, injuries and all kinds of stuff. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have leprosy or a terminal illness.
However, there is one universal thing that happens when you’re sick. It affects your mind. I mean I was battling a cold last week. I got a fever in the night, had the chills, was delirious at one point and threw up, couldn’t breathe through my nose and was just miserable. And I’ll tell you what…my mind. I told my wife, “I’m done. I feel like dying. I’m ready to go. Lord, take me home.” She said I was just being dramatic.
There’s probably truth to that, it’s also true that when your body doesn’t feel good, it affects your mind and you just feel down, gloomy and desperate. We tend to think of our mind and our bodies as separate entities but they co-exist and function together. More and more scientists and doctors are discovering the connections between the mind and the body.
Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk is one of the leading researchers in this field and wrote a book titled, “The Body Keeps The Score.” One of his chapters is titled, “Losing Your Body, Losing Your Self.” In it, he explains that each of the sensory experiences we have gets transmitted to different parts of the brain that then integrates them into a single perception of one’s self. He says,
“The core of our self-awareness rests on the physical sensations that convey inner states of the body. It is the job of the brain to constantly monitor what is going on within us and around us. When these systems become overwhelmed by either an internal or external threat…our senses become muffled and we no longer feel fully alive.”
In essence, physical and psychological sickness can cause us to lose our sense of self, self-identity, and self-worth.
With the leper from our story, he’s broken deep down. His body is broken and his heart is broken. He doesn’t have any question in his mind about whether or not Jesus could heal him, he just thinks that Jesus wouldn’t want to.
The text says this man was “full of leprosy” so it was probably pretty advanced and he was likely suffering from it for years. Years of being segregated and calling out “unclean, unclean.” Years of no one touching him or expressing any love or care to him.
He had reached where he had come to believe he was not only physically dirty but dirty in his soul to the point where he had no self-worth left. His only hope is that maybe, just maybe Jesus wouldn’t be like all the rest and would be willing. “If you are willing…you can make me clean.”
For us today, we may not have leprosy but may have gone through and experienced things in our lives that have made us feel the same way. Some of you have suffered physical abuse at the hands of others. Some of you have been sexually abused. Some of you have been verbally abused by others and torn down.
You may be here today and the sins that other people have committed against you have so eaten away at your soul that you feel like there’s not much left. You may be here and the truth is deep down you just feel dirty and worthless…like this leper.
In response to the cry of this leper’s heart and condition, Jesus reaches out and touches him and says just four words, “I will. Be clean.” I am willing, be clean.” Oh, the power of those words! What compassion! What love of Jesus!
For Jesus, there are no untouchables. There is no one too dirty or too damaged or too broken for Him to extend His healing hand. No matter what has happened and been done to you, Jesus knows your need and says, “I am willing!” “I am willing!”
Today, where in your life do you need the touch of Jesus’ healing hand? What things have happened in your life that have caused you to lose yourself and you need Jesus to restore you? Where do you need Him to give you new skin?
If you turn to Him, He will heal you. Jesus heals all wounds.
And by the way, this is something our church is all about…extending the healing hands of Jesus to the wounded. You heard in the video about the Night of Hope event happening this Wednesday here at our church. Victims of human trafficking are a population in our society who are much like lepers in what they’ve gone through. So I want to encourage you to come out and here about what we’re doing, a Christian couple who are survivors of human trafficking are going to share their story. You won’t wanna miss this. There will be food and childcare, so there’s no reason not to make it. Let’s learn how we can do our part to help the unclean become clean and healed in Jesus.
Well, we’ve got one last type of person to look at from the stories of Jesus we’re looking at today and that’s, “The Damned.” So let’s see what happens here with this paralyzed dude and a tax collector and his friends.
III. The Damned
The word is starting to get out that Jesus does these supernatural healings, so people are flocking to Him. He’s in this house and it’s packed out. There are some dudes who have a friend who’s paralyzed, they hear Jesus is in town and do what any good friend should do for all their friends and try to introduce them to Jesus.
They can’t get into the house, so these crazy guys get this hair brained idea to somehow hoist their friend up onto the top of the house and start digging through the mud thatch roof, to lower their friend down. You gotta kind of try to imagine it.
Jesus is sitting there teaching and all the sudden bits of the roof start falling until there’s this hole of light shining through and then this dude on a bed being lowered through the hole.
I don’t know but I just imagine Jesus laughing here. He doesn’t even wait for them to say anything. He just says, “Man, your sins are forgiven.” And then the guy is able to walk again.
Now, what we need to talk about is why this is what Jesus said. With the leper, He just said, “be clean.” Last week with some sick people He healed them by rebuking the sickness as the work of the devil. But here, He goes after sin telling the guy his sins are forgiven. Why does he say that? Is Jesus implying that the guy did something wrong, that he sinned and that’s why he’s in a wheelchair?
I don’t think so. Here’s what I think is going on. Over in one of the other accounts of Jesus life and time on earth written by John, there’s this time when Jesus encounters a guy who been blind since birth and they ask Jesus who sinned to make him blind, the blind dude or his parents?
That was the common view of the day. The idea is that if you’re bad then God’s gonna getcha. If you do something bad, then God’s gonna react and do something bad to you. They think the paralyzed guy is probably in a wheelchair because either he or his parents were sinners, so God punished him by making him unable to walk. They think God damned him to a chair or a bed because of his sin.
So that’s the paralyzed guy. Then we’ve got this tax collector dude and his friends.
This guy Levi is a tax collector, sort of like a dude who works for the IRS only way worse. Back in the first-century, you had to physically go in person and pay your taxes, you couldn’t just send them in. And part of the benefit of being a tax collector is that it was your privilege and prerogative to charge extra on top of what people owed.
Tax collectors were commissioned based. And tax collectors made a lot of money. Typically the were very rich. They were known for flaunting their money and throwing big wild parties with lots of wine and women.
Because of that, tax collectors and their lot were written off by the church leaders of the day as hopeless degenerates. Just like the paralyzed dude, they’re a damned lot, who they think God hates. You hear it in the church leaders of the day’s accusation against Jesus in verse 30 saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
For us today, we can too often write people off like these old school church leaders did. The truth of our hearts is that it’s really easy for us to feel the way these guys did.
Think about the paralyzed guy. Can you imagine not being able to walk, being in a wheelchair your entire life? For me, whenever something doesn’t go right I almost always start trying to think through what I did wrong that God’s upset about and getting me back for. It’s silly but it’s just the way my warped mind often works. I imagine for a dude in a wheelchair, it would be hard not think that God had just cursed you. You’re damned.
Think about the tax collector and his friends. Tax collectors knew what they did was jacked up. They knew people hated them. But they loved the money and the stuff that came with the money. But after awhile you just stop caring. Your attitude just starts to become, “so what.” You just start to accept that you’ll probably go to hell and that God hates you because you figure you’re just too far gone. You’re damned.
Both the paralytic and the partiers are damned. So with both of them what Jesus offers them is forgiveness. He goes to the heart and root of what their need and issue is before God, forgiveness.
Have you ever felt like God is out to get you or that there’s no hope for you? That’s how these two guys felt. But with Jesus, He steps in, putting Himself in play so that people can be forgiven and be welcomed into the family of God and all its blessings.
In response, with the paralyzed guy, he erupts in pure joy. And with Levi, the tax collector, he’s so moved by Jesus, that he like the fisherman leaves his job and enters into Jesus’ three-year apprenticeship program.
The church leaders of the day can’t stand it. With the paralyzed guy, they’re furious at Jesus. They basically say, “Who do you think you are?” And they rightly point out that only God can forgive sin. Which was a serious deal. It was punishable under penalty of death to commit blasphemy, putting oneself on par with God (Lev 24:10-23).
But Jesus responds to them saying He is the Son and has the authority, right and prerogative as the Son of God and the Son of Man to forgive sin.
Likewise, with Levi and his buddies, the church leaders of the day accuse Jesus of wrongdoing by making friends with sinners and hanging out with them. But Jesus responds to them saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
When it comes down to it, this is where we all are. We are all broken sinners, who need God’s forgiveness that comes through Jesus. With the paralytic, Jesus says healing the guy enabling him to walk is the far easier thing. The much harder thing is healing the soul from the disease of sin. That healing only happens through forgiveness.
Look, I know when we hear the word “sinner” today, many of us kind of cringe. I don’t know anyone who wants to be put in that camp. But the truth is that’s where all of us really are.
Jesus is really clear here. If we don’t think we are in any need, if we don’t think we are sinners, then there’s really no hope for us. If we don’t think we are sick and broken then He’s not for us. He doesn’t come to call or save the righteous, those who think they’re perfect and have it all together. He only comes to help those who recognize they need help.
And the way Jesus extends His helping hands to us is through forgiveness. Forgiveness is the only answer for our faults and failures. It’s the only way out of seeing God as against us and getting us back for our wrongdoings. Forgiveness is our only hope.
Matthew Henry, the great Puritan pastor and theologian said this, “Sin is the fountain of all sickness and forgiveness of sin is the only foundation upon which recovery of sickness can be built.”
Because we know that Jesus is for us and offers forgiveness to us, it gives us courage to admit we’re sinners who need His help. Sin is a sickness that wounds us. It contaminates our hearts and separates us from God. But Jesus is a savior who heals all wounds, especially the wounds of sin. Jesus heals all wounds.
This is where we end today. Seeing that no matter who we are or what we’re dealing with…our doubt, our dirt or our damnable failures Jesus offers us forgiveness.
I hope today you’ve heard of the generosity of God towards us in Jesus. Jesus heals our wounds. He is willing and able. That’s what all these stories are about.
The only thing they don’t tell us about is how Jesus forgives us because for forgiveness to take place, somebody has to pay. Someone has to absorb the debt of the hurt and wrongdoing in order for the relationship to be restored.
And that is Jesus ultimate mission. He goes about healing people and offering forgiveness for three years and then He climbs up on a cross in order to pay the price and absorb the debt for all of humanities failures, so that all who trust in Him might be fully restored to God.
Jesus heals all wounds by being wounded for us on the cross. Because of that, we are forgiven and because He rose from the dead three days later, He lives to walk with us and continue to minister to us the healing balm of His blood.
So that’s where we end up today. Where we do each week here at The Resolved. By meeting with Jesus at His table, where we taste the tangible elements of His life and death in the elements of bread and wine, in what we call “communion.”
It’s also a time where we not only respond with our hearts but also with our finances. It’s the first Sunday of the month, where we give of what the Bible calls our “firstfruits.” So whether you do that online, text to give or physically do it in the boxes, give joyfully and generously as our God has so joyfully and generously given to us in Jesus.