In a simple house in Galilee, the powers to heal diseases and to forgive sins were finally seen as one power.
The official teachers of the Law and leaders of the people had to investigate this unofficial rabbi traveling in Galilee. They and the hosts of needy and curious people filled the Galilean house beyond capacity.
Something in the Air
As Jesus taught His unique vision of the Law and the prophets and the details of the Covenant with God, the keepers of the flame were busy trying to keep up. They had a vague sense that Jesus spelled trouble for them. They listened carefully to His every word, hoping to find some blasphemy with which to charge Him.
There was also the problem of the miracles. The people were convinced that whoever Jesus might be, He was at the very least a prophet. The power of the Lord flowed through Him, of this they were sure. The signs and wonders could not be questioned; this was no magic show. As Jesus continued to teach, the air took on an almost electric charge. Dr. Luke describes it thusly:
“…the power of the Lord was present to heal…”
Everyone felt this, even the critics and powerbrokers whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by this carpenter from Nazareth.
From the Outside to the Inside
Evidently, the charge radiated outside of the house. A group of men carried their paralyzed friend to the door and were turned away. There was no way to enter. They tried all the doors and windows with the same result. Exhausted, they put down the liter and sat around their friend, discouraged. One of them noticed the thatched roof on the house. It kept out the rain well enough, but it could also be easily dismantled. Somehow they gained the rooftop with their friend intact and began to un-thatch the thatch. Soon there was an opening large enough to lower their friend into the crowded room below. All of this commotion interrupted the Lord and He and the crowd watched as the faithful friends completed their compassionate demolition. The faith of these men boosted the charged in the air. When Jesus saw their faith, shining like a beacon against the darkness of the Pharisees’ doubt, He spoke:
“Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
Wait, thought the Pharisees. He did not speak to the paralysis but to the man’s sins. This was out of bounds. Miracles were wonderful and we can always praise God for them, but to forgive sins is only for God and not for any man. They had the blasphemy for which they were looking. Jesus knew their thoughts.
“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?”
This was the question. The Pharisees felt that Jesus had taken the bait. Scheming smiles passed among these leaders of the People of God who could not see past their theological noses.
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”
He said to the man who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
The man did exactly that, rejoicing all the way home! Gleefully, his faithful friends were joined by other men in the house to repair the damage to the roof.
The ecclesiastical rooftop of the powerhouse occupied by the Pharisees, would itself never be repaired.
Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
Lord Jesus, Your power is Your power! It flows from You in power to heal and to forgive. All is within Your authority. The doubt of those who do not believe in You hinders You not! The unbelief of others never holds me back from believing in You, Your Word, Your Presence, and Your unbreakable promises. Oh, sometimes, I encounter hindrances like the men who brought their friend to You but, like them, I will demolish those hindrances with my faithfulness to Your commands. You are the one with the Power! Amen and Amen.
Rise and Be Healed
Words and Music: Milton Bourgeois
1. Have fear and doubt come against your mind
Has your faith been sorely tried
Lift up your eyes here cometh your help
It is Jesus for you He has died
Rise and be healed
In the name of Jesus
Let faith arise in your soul
Rise and be healed
In the name of Jesus
He will cleanse and make you whole
2. If by faith you reach out to Him
He will meet your ev’ry need
He will respond to the cry of your heart
He will touch you and set you free
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.