What does Luke 5:16 mean?
ESV: But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
NIV: But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
NASB: But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
CSB: Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
NLT: But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
KJV: And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
NKJV: So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has just healed a man with leprosy who, instead of showing himself to the priests as Jesus instructed, spreads the news among the people (Luke 5:12–15; Mark 1:45). Jesus was already dealing with crowds—at least one so big He had to climb in a boat to make sure people could hear Him (Luke 5:1–3). Now it's even more difficult for Him to have any private time.

Jesus makes a conscious effort to get away and pray. He is God and the Son of God, but the Son needs His Father. Their relationship during Jesus' incarnation is slightly altered. Jesus has "humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8). The communion the Persons of the Trinity shared is not broken, but it does take more effort to maintain.

Despite the importance of Jesus' connection to the Father, when the crowds come He responds to them (Mark 1:45). Even when Jesus tries to take His disciples away to rest and mourn for John the Baptist, a crowd follows them. Instead of hiding, Jesus "[has] compassion on them and heal[s] their sick" (Matthew 14:13–14).

Luke focuses on Jesus' prayer life more than the other Gospel writers. Believers should take note: if God the Son needs to break away from ministry to spend private time with His Father, we do, too. We cannot serve others faithfully if we are not empowered by the One who sent us to serve. When we are interrupted we should respond graciously. But knowing there is much to be done—many needs to fill—should send us to our knees before we try to meet the challenges.
Verse Context:
Luke 5:12–16 explains how Jesus heals a man with leprosy. This would have been some serious skin condition, but not necessarily the exact "leprosy" which today is known as "Hansen's disease." Jesus has called His first disciples; now He performs the first of two attention-getting healings. Leprosy was thought to be a curse and came with social and religious stigmas. Jesus breaks tradition by touching the man and healing him, physically and religiously. Next, Jesus will heal a paralytic, but not before declaring the man's sins are forgiven (Luke 5:17–26). The story of the man with leprosy is also found in Matthew 8:2–4 and Mark 1:40–45.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 5 continues Jesus' Galilean Ministry (Luke 4:14—9:50). The passage alternates calls to discipleship with miracles and teachings which demonstrate what discipleship entails. Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, and their business partners, James and John, to follow Him and make more disciples. Then Jesus makes a man with leprosy ceremonially clean. He forgives the sins of a paralytic. After He calls Levi to follow Him, Jesus celebrates instead of fasting. This draws critical questions from the crowd. The religious leaders consider Jesus' actions blasphemous. His message of forgiveness, faith, and repentance cannot be contained by their tradition.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has already proved He can expel demons, heal ailments, and reveal the kingdom of God (Luke 4:31–44). In this chapter, He begins to separate His followers from His detractors. This begins with calling the first five disciples and emphasizing faith and repentance over religious tradition. He will drive home the point by treating the Sabbath as a blessing rather than a burden (Luke 6:1–11). After formally inviting the Twelve to follow Him, Jesus will explain to a crowd what discipleship looks like and invite them to build their lives on Him (Luke 6:12–49). In chapter 7, Jesus champions Gentiles and the marginalized.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
Accessed 4/23/2024 8:43:43 PM
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