One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does He think He is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hears? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
I have thought about this story many times and I have played each role:
I have been one of the friends carrying the paralytic, bearing another’s burdens, caring for another during heavy times, bringing that person before Jesus and into His presence through prayer.
I have been one of the Pharisees, doubting in my heart the ways of Christ, trying to make sense of faith and doubt, questioning, searching, seeking my own wisdom and coming up short, not being able to reconcile the things of this world (broken and cursed) with the picture of heaven (redeemed and renewed).
I have been one of the ones in the crowd, witnessing Christ work in others’ lives, standing in awe, worshipping God, bearing testimony of His power and might and grace and mercy in someone else’s life.
Right now, I am the Paralytic.
I feel paralyzed, frozen, without control, waiting: how long, how hard, how much. I have been praying and waiting and hoping only to be met each month with disappointment, discouragement, and doubt. Some days it feels like there’s not much of me left – I’m all poured out (Ps. 22:14-15). I’ve prayed and cried, waited and wept, worshipped and not-worshiped, spoken life and experienced no new life inside of me. I’ve tried praying “harder,” having “just a little more faith,” “worshipping my way through,” “praising Him in the storm,” and seeking “the Joy of the Lord.”
Sometimes I have experienced that joy and so much more. Right now, not so much. It’s more like “a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1).
One of my favorites is a simple but meaningful southern gospel:
“I need you, you need me. We’re all a part of God’s body. Stand with me. Agree with me. We’re all a part of God’s body. It is His will that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive.”
Today, I’m the paralytic and I’m asking you to carry me into the presence of Jesus. Pray for me, intercede on my behalf, do the hard work that I can’t do for myself right now. Be the hands and feet of the Body of Christ and help lower this paralytic through the roof and into the presence of healing, peace, forgiveness, and strength.
He’s got me right in the palm of His hand. I’m going to be fine. I’m going to experience the peace that surpasses understanding – all that and more! But just for today, if I’m the paralytic, could you be the friends? Thanks.