Helpful Friends, Hostile Foes and a Happy Ending
by Jill Southern
In Mark’s gospel we find the story of the paralysed man who was forgiven and healed by Jesus, after being lowered through the roof by his friends. Among the miracles of Jesus, this is one of the best known, and is in all three synoptic gospels.
The man’s friends carried him to Jesus. He was totally immobile, confined to a stretcher, and unable to enter through the door. With great effort his friends let him down through the roof.
Jesus observed the faith of the paralysed man and his friends. He said, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ It seemed strange that Jesus forgave him first, rather than healed him. Why? Doctor Luke mentions that both the scribes and the Pharisees reasoned in their hearts, not speaking it out, but silently, that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, as only God can forgive sins (Luke 5:21).
Jesus has the power to forgive sin, because He is the divine Son of God, and He knew what they were thinking in their hearts. He asked which was easier - to forgive or to heal? Both required divine authority and power. And Jesus had the power to do both. Jesus told the paralysed man to arise and take up his bed and go home. He did it immediately, in the presence of all. Doctor Luke adds that he went glorifying God.
The healing of the paralysed man is a wonderful story, but it has lessons for us today. First of all it shows the power of Jesus to forgive sins while He was on earth. Jesus demonstrated this power. From heaven Jesus continues to have the power to forgive sins, made possible through His shed blood on the cross. This is offered to all today who respond to His gospel. This is forever available to those who walk with God. So `Have you looked to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?`
Secondly, it shows us how precious it is to have friends with faith. Jesus saw the faith of this man’s friends. They made a great effort to help him. Without them the man wouldn’t have been able to come to Jesus at all. Do you have friends with faith? People who are ready to help you in time of need? Do you appreciate such friends? If they’re in need can they rely on you? We should all nurture our network of friends who are believers and share our faith with them.
The healing of the paralysed man reveals a man who was in need, was blessed with good friends, and was forgiven of his sins by Jesus Christ. We’re all like that man. We have needs that only Jesus can fulfil. We need the forgiveness of Jesus. Like the paralysed man we need faith. It was his faith, and that of his friends, that led to Jesus fulfilling his needs.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You’re the author and the perfecter of our faith. Help us to deepen our walk with You by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for forgiving us our sins through the shed blood of Jesus, and for all the divine exchange at the cross means. Help us to fix our eyes on You, as we make You Lord of our lives today. Amen.
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