This week as I was reading my thoughts focused in on Luke 5, when Jesus heals the paralytic that was lowered down through the roof of where Jesus was teaching. It is a pretty cool story with quite a few moving parts. The first thing we see is that Jesus is teaching, and then he is interrupted by a group of men lowering a paralyzed man from the roof. The men, including the paralyzed man, obviously had faith knowing that Jesus could heal him, along with a knowledge of the graciousness of Jesus, not worried about his reaction of being interrupted while teaching. Although this account is already pretty strange, we see Jesus do something even more peculiar.
Jesus does not immediately heal the paralytic, but instead says to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Jesus could see a bigger need in this man’s life than his physical impairment, and that is the spiritual impairment of sin. Jesus could have just healed the man and let him go on his way, but instead he does something more important, he forgives him of his sins. This is something that the Scribes and Pharisees went crazy about, and questioned it by saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus was doing something much bolder than what it looked like at face value. Jesus here is making a claim of deity, he is saying he is God, and he has the authority to forgive sins. Jesus goes on in verses 22-24 to say, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ 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 bed and go home.” After this the man immediately picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. (Verse 25)
Jesus used an interruption for three different things (probably more) here. He used the opportunity to heal someone both spiritually and physically, he used it to teach and show his authority, and he used to it bring glory to God. I could now ask you how do you use the random interruptions or encounters with people, but instead I want to ask you what do you focus in on your prayers? Do you focus on physical needs of yourself and others? Or do you more importantly focus on the spiritual needs of those around you, including yourself? I think a lot of times we get caught up in physical needs because they are more visible, but I would argue that the more pressing issues are much deep than physical, they are spiritual. Christ has the power to heal physical afflictions, but more importantly he forgives sins, he took on our punishment of death! So let us focus a little more on the spiritual, knowing that the physical afflictions are only temporary, because without the forgiveness of sins we would face condemnation.
Jesus saves! There is no better news, so spread it and don’t neglect praying for the spiritual needs of the people around you and those that are lost without a savior.
Thanks for reading,