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. Luke 5:18-19
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River. Matthew 4:23-25
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
This encounter took place in Bethany, an area east of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:28-29
Both our Luke 5 passage and the Matthew 4 passage make it very clear that the crowds gathered around Jesus were there for the physical healing they were hoping he would provide for them. This is certainly the reason why the men carried the paralyzed man to Jesus. The Matthew 1 and John 1 passages show us that both Matthew and John the Baptist understood that Jesus was not just a healer of physical infirmity but that he was a healer of spiritual infirmity. Before the actual birth of Jesus, the angel told Joseph that Jesus would save his people from their sins. Just as Jesus began his public ministry, John the Baptist spoke of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Spiritual infirmity is always a greater need than physical infirmity. The physical paralysis of the man rendered him helpless and he could do nothing about it (hence, his being carried by friends). Our spiritual paralysis (sinfulness) renders us helpless and we can do nothing about it (hence, we need a Savior from sin). How easily we minimize the extent of our need and our helplessness to do anything about it. How easily we minimize the necessity of a Savior and the extent of what Christ did to take care of our sin.
Lord, I acknowledge that I tend to minimize the extent of my spiritual infirmity and the extent of my true need for you. Help me to embrace you in ways that maximize who you are and why you came. Thank you for coming to be the Savior of the world and the Savior of my soul.
Posted on Tue, March 10, 2015
by Ken Hart