Inconvenient, Healing Truth

Friday, February 21, 2014

1Now 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. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 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.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 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.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. Luke 5:17-25
Real friendship brings about compassion. It is difficult not to do something to help a hurting friend. In this passage of scripture, a group of friends (I don't know the exact number but I am guessing it was at least 2) were moved by compassion. They decided to carry their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Jesus was doing what He did best: teaching. I love how this scripture points out that "the power of the Lord was present to heal them." Next time you are sitting under anointed teaching of the Word, remember that the power of God is present to heal. 
The plan was to lay the paralyzed man before Jesus. This group of friends believed that if they could just get their paralyzed friend in front of the Master, his life would never be the same. Do you have a friend who's paralyzed? Do you know anyone paralyzed by fear, shame, guilt or any other sickness of body or soul who can benefit from God's power to heal? 
This group of friends not only knew someone paralyzed but here's what they also knew: it was going to be Inconvenient. Getting a paralyzed person from their house is not the same thing as just meeting a healthy friend for coffee. Maybe they had convince the friend's caretaker to agree to this crazy idea. This group of friends also knew it was going to be Heavy. Carrying a grown man is hard but carrying a paralyzed man is even heavier. Here's what this group of friends did: they agreed on an idea and they shared the weight equally. The group of friends agreed that Jesus was the hero of the story so none of them needed to bear the heaviest burden. I can imagine that each held one side of the bed so the paralyzed man's weight would be distributed equally. This crazy idea was Embarrassing. I imagine the stares this group of friends received on their way to Jesus. They didn't care. They kept carrying that bed with an end goal in mind: they must lay their friend in front of Jesus. 
When they arrived at the house where Jesus was teaching, there was a crowd listening to Jesus. I can imagine the homeowner invited everyone he or she knew. Jesus loves people and people never knew anyone like Him. People were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as One having authority, and not as the scribes (Matthew 7:28-29). The crowd was not moving, even for a paralyzed man. That's when this group of friends got Creative. They thought, "we go up to the housetop, let him down in his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus." 
Let me tell you something: Jesus did not mind being interrupted by such bold faith. As a matter of fact, Jesus saw the faith of that group of friends. Can Jesus see your faith towards your friends? We can fake our faith and optimism towards our friends' challenges but there is One who can see the heart. My prayer is to have fervent, bold faith to believe Jesus to do the impossible for my paralyzed friends. 
If we fast forward to the end of the story, we see that Jesus forgives first, then immediately heals. Let me tell you how you can tell that this man has been healed: he immediately gets up, gets the bed he had been lying on and goes home glorifying God. 
Jesus received the glory for the miracle, not the group of friends. Can you handle not being recognized for the miracle Jesus performs in your paralyzed friend's life? Bringing a paralyzed friend to Jesus is Inconvenient, Heavy, Embarrassing, it requires Creativity and it begets no credit for you and your group of friends. But it brings about a miracle and glory to a God who heals immediately and completely. 
• Who is your paralyzed friend?
• How can you and your group of friends switch the conversation from "poor So and So is miserably paralyzed, let's send casseroles" to "let's share the weight of their bed and take So and So to Jesus." 
Dear and powerful Jesus, give us the courage to bring our paralyzed friends to you, no matter how inconvenient it may seem. Only you have words of life, power to forgive and the ability to heal. Help us to have bold faith towards our friend's impossible situations. In Jesus' name, Amen.