Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
17One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
18Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, 19but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
21But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
22Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 23Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?24So I will prove to you that the Son of Mand has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
25And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
This story has 4 types of people in it. We often times associate with different types at different times in our life, or even on different day. As you read on, don’t think of anyone else, that’s easy. Look very deeply at yourself and I’ll be we can all remember a time when we were each of these people.
- The paralyzed man is obviously very ill. Such a situation made him a beggar at that time. There wasn’t even a wheelchair then. Every move was dependent on others. His only hope was Jesus. He probably thought about it often but knew about his own life and sins. Turning to Jesus wasn’t all that automatic, it was scary. And even though this life was bad, it was the only life he knew. If that all changed, if he changed, what would his life be like. It was scary. Finally, to Jesus he went.
- The friends caring the stretcher are another group entirely. We don’t know this but I can see them huddled around the paralyzed man say, “C’mon, let’s go! What have you got to lose! It’s time to stop watching football and start playing the game!” (Ok, that’s a stretch, but I couldn’t resist.) Then they pick him up and can’t get in front of Jesus. The paralyzed man doesn’t want to be any more of a bother and just wants to go home. But no way. These guys are determined and inspired and they are getting a victory for their friend.
- Then there is the teachers of the law. Oh my. Jesus is breaking the rules and he is more popular than them and he is succeeding and they are not. They are jealous, plain and simple jealousy. They are so jealous they don’t care about the good that is happening all around them. They literally are so blind with jealousy they don’t see the lame walking, the blind seeing and captives set free. They only see their own loss. They are numero uno and that is all that matters.
- And then there is Jesus. He knows the sins and doesn’t care. He knows he is putting himself in danger and doesn’t care. He knows someone has come to him who isn’t perfect by a far cry, but he came anyway. Jesus touched the man and changed his life by being kind, and generous and courageous. He did his Father’s will, and left the chips fall where they may.
Who am I today?
Lord, keep jealousy far from me, and show me who I am today, and let your will be done in me.