© 2004 by Jerry L. Croasmun

Read -- Luke 5:15-26

"When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'"
-- Luke 5:20 (NIV)

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all mention one of my favorite childhood Bible stories. See Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; and Luke 5:17-26 to read this fascinating account of four men who carried their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. Working together they tore off the roof and then lowered the man and his bed into the house.

News about Jesus spread and large crowds began to follow Him as we read in Luke 5:15, "Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses." In Matthew 4:23-24 we also read, "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." Jesus was preaching inside a house in Capernaum of Galilee when the four friends began tearing the roof off.

The paralyzed man was physically unable to come to Jesus on his own. He had to rely on the strength, compassion, and cooperation of his friends. In Luke 5:20 we read, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'" The four men brought the paralytic to Jesus and their friend received a spiritual and physical touch from God in part because of their faith and kindness.

In Luke 5:21 we read, "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?'" The religious leaders, though often wrong, were right about one thing. They knew only God alone could forgive sins. In Isaiah 43:25 we read, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

Others may share the good news of the gospel with us and bring or introduce us to Jesus. However, each one of us must listen and respond to the Master's words for ourselves. In Luke 5:23-24 we read, "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. I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

The paralytic could have stayed lying on his bed and remained paralyzed, but instead he chose to step out in faith and obedience. Jesus instructed the man to do three things. First, he was told to get up; second to get his bed mat; and third to go home. In Luke 5:25-26 we read, "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.'"

God's plan to reveal Himself through Jesus was demonstrated when Jesus healed the paralytic. The paralytic went home praising God. Likewise, we read in 2 Timothy 1:8-9, "So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me [Paul] His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time." May you be richly blessed as you seek our Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ.


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