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. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
So He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” (Luke 5:17-26, NIV)
- - - - -
After arriving back from our honeymoon this past summer, my husband and I had purchased a couple small trinkets while on our trip as gifts for my younger siblings.
When arriving at my parent’s house, we had the gifts in small, plain bags. After setting them on the piano, we went on in to greet and catch up with the family.
Knowing my 5-year-old sister would be ecstatic to receive a gift, I called her over and told her to go get the bag sitting on the piano. “Why?” she immediately asked.
After several minutes of playing back and forth with the “Why” question, she finally went over and grabbed the bag. Prompting her to open it, her excitement upon seeing her gift was just as I expected.
How often I have found my own self playing the same back and forth “But, why” game with God, questioning His moves and testing His patience with me by showing this doubt of what goodness He has planned, rather than displaying my faith and being obedient.
In this passage, a beautiful picture of genuine faith is lived out and shown by two different people(s).
1. The paralytic man 2. The friends
First things first, in the passage, it says the man immediately stood up.
He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t stop and look down, wondering if Jesus was crazy and had forgotten he was paralyzed. And he definitely didn’t stop and ask Jesus, how or why.
That’s the beauty of Christ - sometimes there isn’t an explanation or an answer. In a society where we are constantly encouraged to find out why or how and to have all the answers, we just need to whole-heartedly trust Jesus and live by faith; being confident in the truth that He knows what He’s doing.
Secondly, this passage speaks volumes of the man’s friends.
“When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” (Luke 5:19)
So let’s break this down real quick.
Here is a man who can’t walk. Jesus is in town and the place is booming with people. Friends of the paralyzed man are carrying him around on a mat trying to get him to Jesus. There are too many people, so they go carry him to the roof of the building, remove some tiles, and lower him through the roof.
Let me say that again, THROUGH THE ROOF.
To bring their friend to Jesus, these men were willing to do whatever it took.
So many times I hear Christians pray for the lost, specifically praying that they would come to know Jesus. I myself am guilty of praying this very prayer. But what have I done to help them come to Jesus?
Jesus could have very easily said, “Get up and walk,” first, but instead He chose to say, “Your sins are forgiven.”
If a person is physically healed, but has never been forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Christ, then they have not been truly healed.
To what extent would you go to bring a lost person to Jesus? To bring a friend, a family member, a co-worker, to Jesus?
Would you carry them on a mat through a crowded town, upstairs to a roof and lower them through? Would you invite them to go get coffee and share your testimony of what God has done and is doing in your life?
This passages states that “when Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”
If we don’t bring our friend(s) to Jesus, how will they ever be forgiven of the dark, ugly sin that their lives are bound and chained by?
As Christians, we talk about walking in faith, we tell each other to live in faith, but are we really, truly walking, step-by-step, day-by-day, being obedient to what the Father calls us to do? Or are we questioning His every move, asking Him “why?” or “How?,” rather than immediately doing.
As you look around you this week and see those who are lost, those who are brothers and sisters in Christ, I challenge you to do two things.
1. Reach out to that co-worker, that friend, that neighbor, that family member, etc. Invite them to lunch, go get coffee, notice they have a car load of groceries, offer to help carry.
2. Rejoice with other believers. Remind each other of the remarkable things that God is doing in your life. In fact, share at least one thing that God is doing/has done in your life with someone close.
Feel free to let us know how it goes OR what He has been doing specifically in your life! We do hope that you enjoyed today's devotion. Feel free to share it within your social networks using the icons below. And as always, we hope to have you join us again for Day 9.
[guest writer: Alyssa Horton]