One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.” ( Luke 5:17-26)
Did you notice in this Gospel passage that we never really hear about the paralyzed man’s faith? What we hear about is the faith of his friends. It is the friends who carry him to Jesus’ house. It is the friends who take him up onto the roof. It is the friends who take off the tiles and dig through the ceiling. It is the friends who lower him into the middle of Jesus circle. It is when Jesus saw the faith of the friends that he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
While all of us would say that this man’s ultimate forgiveness, healing, and transformation comes from Jesus—what gets him to that point, what gets him to Jesus is that faith of his friends. Have your friends ever carried you? When you weren’t sure if you believed in God’s power? When you didn’t think you had strength to go on? When you were so lost you just needed a word of guidance? When you were so wounded you were thirsty for even a morsel of kindness?
When you help someone in need you are opening yourself to enormous blessings from God. This is what happened to the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus. They were blessed by Jesus and was forgiven of their many sins (Luke 5:20). As you continue your journey in this world you will continue to encounter those who are in need. Never let go of the opportunity to help be it material or spiritual help. If it would require you to momentarily forget your own self so that you could extend a helping hand, help by all means.
Like the friends of the paralytic, we have to be willing to break social convention, to do something others might consider crazy, in order to help them come to Jesus. We need to allow others, including each other, to carry us in this way rather than out of shame prefer to stay paralyzed in our own problems. Jesus came into the world to transform and change us, but sometimes to receive what he wants to give, we need to allow others to help us. Jesus has the power to make deserts, parched lands and steppes bloom with abundant flowers, and shine like the splendor of the forests of Lebanon. He has the power and desires to strengthen feeble hands, make firm weak knees, embolden frightened hearts, open blind eyes, clear deaf ears, make the lame leap and the mute sing. No matter how injured we or others are, he wants to touch us and make it possible for us to journey with the redeemed along the highway of holiness, the way of the saints.
As we continue our journey in this world, we too will continue to encounter those who are in need. Never let go of the opportunity to help be it material or spiritual help. If it would require you to momentarily forget your own self so that you could extend a helping hand, help by all means. Because every effort that we do for others is remembered in the kingdom of God.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life — my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offences and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your truth and righteousness.”
How far are you willing to go to help a person in need? We have in our gospel a paralytic who was brought to Jesus by selfless men. Men who did not think of their own safety so that they could help. Men who did everything so that they could bring somebody to Jesus.
What if there were no selfless men who dared to help the paralytic? The paralytic would have remained paralytic for the rest of his life. But he was blessed that he encountered these men who help him go near Jesus.
Friendship is more than words. True friendship is going out of one’s way to help and to care. It is not measured by a check written. Nor is it measured by the referral to another person or group to help. True friendship is giving up a part of self to help make another person whole. Then we will have acted in the spirit of Christ.