In this sermon, part of a series on “Travels with Jesus,” Pastor Neil explains the story of the paraplegic Jesus healed. It is a story of friendship, faith, and forgiveness. Here are some excerpts:
First, this story is a living example of what friendship looks like. Mark’s telling of the story includes a couple of details not in Luke’s account. For example, Luke doesn’t say where this event took place. He simply introduces it by saying, in verse 17: “One day as He” – Jesus – “was teaching.” Mark tells us it happened in Capernaum (2:1), the town that served as Jesus’ home base in the midst of His travels. Jesus was teaching in someone’s home. It may have been the home of Simon Peter and Andrew…
…The second word I want to focus on is faith. What Jesus saw when those four guys brought their friend to Him was not just four guys making a mess, or making a scene, by cutting a hole in the roof. What Jesus saw in them was faith. Last Sunday we saw the compassion of Jesus in action. Here we see faith in action – the faith of these four men and their paralyzed friend.
“Seeing their faith” is the way the New Living Translation (NLT) says it (Mark 2:3). The NIV says: “When Jesus saw their faith …” The Message says that Jesus was “impressed by their bold belief.” What caught Jesus’ attention was not the mess they were making. It was their faith. These guys, including their paralyzed friend, believed that Jesus could and would do something to help him, if they could just get to Jesus. They believed Jesus would heal him.
Whenever and wherever Jesus saw faith exhibited in someone’s life, it brought joy and delight to His heart. And He did miraculous things in response to faith.
Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is “the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.” It is a settled conviction in the heart of what we don’t yet see. Theologian F.F. Bruce said that just as physical eyesight produces evidence or conviction of visible things, so that “Seeing is believing,” faith is the organ that enables us to see the invisible order of things. Which is exactly what these men demonstrated when they made the hole in the roof…
…Which brings us to the third word that begins with “F”: Forgiveness. Jesus did not just heal the paraplegic. He did heal him. But that is not all Jesus did. Nor is it the main thing Jesus did.
The four men brought their friend to Jesus to be healed. He was paralyzed from the waist down and couldn’t move his legs. He couldn’t walk. It was obvious to everyone who had eyes to see that what he needed was to be healed. But what was the first thing Jesus said to him? It was not: “Get up and walk; you are healed.” No. What He said first was: “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20). His first word to the man on the stretcher was a message of forgiveness.
This declaration by Jesus sets off a chain reaction of outrage and objection from the religious leaders – devout, law-abiding Pharisees and teachers of the law of Moses – who have come from all over Galilee and Judea and even Jerusalem itself to check out Jesus and His teaching. They know that, ultimately, the only One with the power and authority to forgive sins is God and God alone. If Jesus is claiming this authority for Himself, He must be claiming to be God.
Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic– friendship, faith, and forgiveness. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.