“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the Word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.”
Now, some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in His Spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Get up take your mat and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying “We have never seen anything like this!”
(This account is also described in Matthew 9 and Luke 5).
Jesus was teaching in a home meeting attended by people from the surrounding villages as well as from Jerusalem. Capernaum was His base, and there were many Pharisees and teachers present, watching His every move. They were the religious leaders of the day, and the self-appointed guardians of the law and its proper observance. We know from John 5 that Jesus had already encountered their opposition to His ministry and teaching. They were always trying to catch Jesus out, and may have only been there to see if He “broke” the law they tried so hard to keep.
The crowd was so great and the people packed so tightly into the room that it was not possible to squeeze another person in. There was no standing room, and not even space outside the door. People flocked in to get a glimpse of Jesus, to feel His touch, and to experience His presence, as did some men, who had brought a sick friend, lying on a mat. He was physically challenged, and probably resigned to being that way all his life, because of the primitive beliefs and medicine of the time. He probably had no hopes for himself, and no vision that his life could ever be different. We do not know if he had been born that way, but when things stay a certain way for a long period of time, it is hard to believe for change.
We do not know if the man on the mat had much faith for his healing, but his friends did. They had heard about Jesus, and they were told He was in town. They believed that if they could only get their sick friend near Him, he would be healed completely! They tried to enter the house as He preached, but there was no way to get even a little peep at Jesus. It was probably every man for himself as some of them stood on one leg, just so they could hear Him speak the words of life.
There was a strong anointing present for healing (Luke 5:17), as the men climbed up the steps to the roof, carrying their friend, and began to dig a hold over the place where Jesus sat. Visualize the strange scene. As Jesus preached, and brought life to the Scriptures these people had read many times before, bits of plaster and brick began to crumble and fall upon the people and even upon Him. Jesus was probably not surprised as He looked up and saw an ever increasing hole being industriously dug out by the zealous and faith filled friends of the paralytic who were actually vandalizing somebody’s home! That poor man on the mat must have really trusted his friends, as they began to lower him through the hole in the roof, and down towards Jesus, swinging wildly and unable to control what was happening to him!
It is likely that this man began to experience something as he was lowered into the presence of Jesus. Something was happening to his heart. Something was happening to his limbs. He knew he was in an atmosphere of miracles. As he suddenly felt a tingling sensation in his dead feet, he began to believe that anything could happen! He was in the presence of the Lord!
Jesus was probably not too surprised to see a man descending through the hole in the ceiling, and dangling before His face. As He said “Son, your sins are forgiven”, the nervous system, muscles, bones and ligaments of the man began to realign. His heart received the healing words of Jesus. He was forgiven and at peace with God. The burden of sin, which had separated him from his destiny, his God, and the life of blessing was taken away. His body began to heal!
Friend, sin paralyzes us from doing what God has called us to do. Sin paralyzes us from moving into our destiny and purpose. It begins with the smallest but ever increasing compromise until we are unable to function in the power God called us to operate in, and keeps us spiritually inactive, and paralyzed. When this man received forgiveness, his body began to heal. Repentance and God’s forgiveness, opens the way for us to begin to rise up and walk strong again. Peace with God brings balance into body, mind and spirit, as cells begin to align with the purposes and the will of God. (See 3 John verse 2). Many of us are waiting to see the manifestation of a healing, or the fulfillment of words of prophecy spoken over our lives, when perhaps it is necessary to put right those things which need that word of forgiveness from Jesus.
The religious leaders had been waiting for an opportunity to accuse Jesus of something, so when He told the man his sins were forgiven, they were quick to say (in their hearts) that Jesus was blaspheming! They believed that Jesus should not forgive sins because only God could forgive; but they did not stop to think He could not have read their thoughts unless He was divine, because only God can read the thoughts of men! When Jesus said “Which is easier to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say “Get up, take your mat and walk”? What He probably meant was that both those are equally impossible to man, but equally easy to God, because there is nothing impossible with God!
Jesus gave the man a few simple steps he had to take in faith. He was still lying on his mat, but Jesus asked him to:
1) Get up. He had been paralyzed for many years; this was all he knew. He had to concentrate and try very hard to use his legs and stand. There was probably fear and anxiety that his legs would not hold his weight. But as he obeyed the instruction, he felt strength flowing into his legs, as atrophied muscles grew out and did what they were created to do!
2) Pick up his mat. He had been unable to do anything to help himself for years. Maybe his arms were shriveled and weak. But as he began to bend stiffly over and attempt to stretch forth his dried up arms, life began to course through them. He could bend, he could feel, he could touch, he could hold! He felt energy flowing like fire from his shoulders and down through his arms and into his fingers. He was healed! Verses 2 & 3 of Psalm 103 say “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” Healing and forgiveness seem to go together!
3) Walk home. He probably had to step over the mass of humanity sitting in the crowded room, but this man who had not walked for many years, was using his legs and heading for home! In the natural, this would not be possible, because it would take months of physiotherapy and exercise to strengthen unused muscles and make them strong enough to function normally. But when Jesus takes over, anything is possible! Supernatural acceleration is what you can expect in Him, Hallelujah!
Mark writes that everyone was amazed and praised God because they had never seen anything like this. Even the Pharisees and teachers who were there to criticize could not help but marvel at the miracle, as they realized God was at work in Jesus!
There are some threads of Truth we can take from this message:
1) There was healing power in the room but not all were healed. There is no mention of anyone else being healed, and that could be because although there was power to heal, not everyone believed.
2) Healing is often preceded by obedience to an instruction. Ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything He would have you do as you pray for healing.
3) Faith activates the power of God. Faith pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6).
4) A person can be healed because of the faith of someone else. Start praying for your friends and loved ones who need God’s healing touch.
5) God’s forgiveness opens the way for all the blessings and benefits salvation brings. Get right with God!
6) Perseverance brought the victory. It pays to persist!
Friend, I know God has awesome things in store for you, not only in terms of physical healing, but in every aspect of your life. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you – plans to prosper you”! Believe that things can be radically different. Believe that your dreams can become reality. Begin to seek God for the breakthrough you are awaiting, for yourself or somebody else. His love and compassion are flowing your way!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 07 March 2011