Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Paralytic

One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every villiage of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic 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 that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." 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


I love this passage. I've heard a lot of sermons preached on this passage, and I'm sure you have, too. Most of the sermons/lessons consist of the preacher talking about how we should all be like the friends who carried the paralytic to Jesus. We should also carry our friends and family to Jesus through prayer. Good point. I agree.

Then there are the sermons that tell us that we shouldn't be like the Pharisees, questioning God's ways and doubting his power. Point taken. (Note to self: don't be a Pharisee).

And, still, there are the sermons about the healing power of Jesus. He can do anything. Heal anyone He wishes through our prayers and the prayers of our friends. This one gets a little more difficult, but I can still go with it.

Yet, I have never heard anyone preach a sermon from the point of view of the paralytic. Oddly enough, I think that this person is the one with whom most of us can identify with in one way or another.

I'm a paralytic. Like the man in the story, my ailments are physical.

Oh, yes, I have the friends. The friends that carry me to Jesus. They've been doing it for years. Like the friends in the story who diligently took the time to remove the thatch from the roof, my friends and family have taken the time over the past 5 years to bring me to Jesus. They've never given up. The thatch may become more difficult to move, the job boring and tiring, but they keep on because they want me better and because they know He can fix me.

And finally, one day, it's done. The thatch is removed and I'm laying at the feet of Jesus. My friends and family watch and wait with anticipation. "Will He heal her? Will the CT reveal that her tumors are gone this time?"

I look up at His face and think, "Okay, com'on. You can do it, Jesus. I know you can heal me. I've seen you do it for so many others!" And I wait, only to hear the words, "Your sins are forgiven."

My sins are forgiven? What!? My sins? I don't care about my sins! I just want to be healed! No more tumors! A healthy liver, that's what I want.

But then, which healing is the true healing? Seems to me that healing a physical liver would be easier than healing my soul, so why did He chose the more difficult route? But maybe that's His way to teach me. To show me that the healing that I really need is not physical, but spiritual. I am a fallen human being. If I am healed spiritually, my physical needs are not important. Because He has chosen to take the more difficult route, to heal my sins, I will one day have a whole body.

"Take up your mat and go home," He says. One day, I will. I will leave this sick, worn out body for a new one. Until then, I will rejoice in the healing He has already offered me.

3 Comments:

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Jana said...

I think it's interesting that you blogged about this today...the chapter our life group :) just read in Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them was about the paralytic and his friends. Check it out when you have a chance...chapter 3...author is John Ortberg.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

Yeah, I'll have to look at that.

It's kinda funny that I came across this today. I was looking at some of my old sermons from college, and I had preached one on this passage. It was interesting to me that I didn't draw the same conclusion from that sermon that I did when I re-visited this passage. I guess that just goes to show that He's still working on me. :o)

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

Amanda, a beautiful thoughtful blog. I doubt many preachers have tackled the paralytic point of view, because they don't have such a viewpoint.

Well the sermon has now be preached, by you, and it was shorter and better than most I have ever heard.

Thanks,

Tony

 

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