One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick (5:17 NIV).
The title is a phrase made famous by Bruce Arians, head coach of the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It presents his coaching philosophy that a team must take risks to succeed. In this section, we will see men who took a risk to bring a friend to the Lord Jesus. Before we consider the risk they took and its outcome, we should consider the setting of this event.
Jesus constantly taught people about God and his kingdom, and the common people were interested in what he had to say. They would gather in great numbers to hear him. But along with them came others Pharisees and teachers of the law. They were the conservatives in the religious establishment, highly devoted to God’s law (torah) and their own rules and regulations, and for most of them, the second more than the first. Sometimes, some priests would also come to observe what Jesus taught and did, but they are not mentioned here. Luke points out the group of religious leaders who would quickly become critics of Jesus. By the large area that they came from, we can observe that they already regarded Jesus with jealous or otherwise hostile opinions. In that time you did not walk a long distance to hear Jesus out of casual interest. They had an agenda.
However, God also had an agenda; he had a purpose for Jesus to fulfill during his earthly ministry. For example, read Isaiah 35:1-7, and notice verse 6: Then will the lame leap like a deer…. (NIV). Why would this happen? They will see the glory of the Lord, and the splendor of our God (35:2 NIV). The Pharisees ought to have looked for the glory of the Lord; instead, they searched for ways to find fault with Jesus.
God doesn’t take risks. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: my plan will take place, and I will do all my will (Isaiah 46:10 CSB). In him we have also received an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of the one who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:11 CSB). So then, the Sovereign Lord has no regard for the phrase of the Tampa Bay coach. God collects all the “biscuits” he desires. Sending his one and only Son to earth was not a risk. God over all had a purpose that he wanted to accomplish. In his grace, it included a plan of salvation for all who repent and believe in Jesus. Have you turned from your sin and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ?
In this event, God made known his purpose of grace and mercy by Jesus healing the sick. Every healing was a sign pointing to God’s love. Each one proclaimed loudly the glory of the living God.
Sadly, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were not interested in salvation. They had their own evil agenda, just as many in our time. They wanted power and prestige. It’s shocking how many will forsake truth for things that last such a short time.
Grace and peace,