The Lord Heals A Paralyzed Man
When people are paralyzed life is very difficult for them. These people are unable to move their arms or their legs. Their muscles don’t grow. They just get weaker and weaker. Eventually, the muscles in their arms and legs wither up so that the person is totally helpless. They spend a lot of time in bed unable to move. They can’t feed themselves, wash themselves, put on a clean shirt for themselves or even go to the toilet without a lot of help.
Doctors can’t help them to get better, nor can they reverse the weakness paralytics constantly live with and medicine doesn’t work either. In the Bible read of people who were paralyzed. They were called the palsied.
What do you think happened when the Lord Jesus met a man with the palsy? Well, it was a great story of a man being delivered from his paralyses to go on to live a normal life. Isn’t that wonderful? Here’s what happened.
The Lord Jesus had been out in a ship on the lake of Galilee and when He was back on shore He walked toward his own city of Capernaum (The Bible calls it his own city for during his three years of preaching he mostly lived in the town of Capernaum. It was a mid-sized town on the edge of the lake of Galilee). While the Lord was walking toward the town, some people brought to the Lord a paralyzed man while lying on his bed. They hoped that the Lord would stop to take notice of the man and perform a miracle. That surely was the reason that they brought the man to Him. They must have thought it would be wonderful if the Lord would heal this poor palsied man so he could live a normal life.
Bringing the man to Jesus to be healed was an act of faith. They really believed that Jesus could heal this man. They had great confidence that the Lord could make this man’s withered muscles strong again so that he might walk and go on to live as other men. This faith in the Lord, this confidence these men showed in the Lord’s power pleased the Lord. He saw their faith in their works of bringing the man to be healed by him.
Then the Lord did something very surprising. The Lord spoke to the sick man and said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” This really was a shock and a surprise to the men and to the Jewish scribes that heard the Lord pronouncing that the man’s sins were forgiven. The Scribes must have been shocked! What, the man needed healing! The man needed a cure to raise him up to normal life, but the Lord spoke about forgiving his sins.
The Jewish scribes didn’t say it out loud, but they thought within themselves, “This man blasphemeth.” They thought Jesus was sinning against God by pronouncing the palsied man to be forgiven for his sins. They thought that no man could ever declare such a thing. They reasoned that only God can declare a person to be forgiven from sin. They had all these thoughts in their hearts. But the Lord was not accepting their critical thoughts. He challenged them.
The reality is that the Scribes were right to think that only God can forgive sin, but what they did not understand is that Jesus is God, therefore He can forgive sins.
Then to prove that the Lord is God he healed the man sick of the palsy. The Lord said to the man, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” And lo, and behold, the man gathered up his mattress and its sheets and carried them off to his house.
Everyone marvelled. They were totally shocked that Jesus had the power to heal such a helpless man. The Lord had power to make the paralyzed man’s muscles strong so he could walk and carry his own mattress to his house. There was no doubt that the Lord Jesus performed a mighty miracle that day.
Then the Lord Jesus explained that He had performed the miracle of healing, on the paralyzed man, to demonstrate that he also had power to forgive the man’s sins. It takes the power of God to make a paralyzed man walk and live as other men, and it takes the authority of God to pronounce a man’s sins to be forgiven.
So, the order of the miracle of healing followed the pronouncement of sins forgiven. The man had his sins washed away before he was healed, and normal life restored to him.
Jesus himself said, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”
The miracle of healing confirmed that Jesus is God and has the authority and the ability to forgive sins. Indeed, this is the reason for each of the Lord’s many miracles. It was to establish that he was not a mere man and that he was truly and fully the Son of the true and living God. Whether the Lord turned water into wine, resisted the devil by God’s word, commanded the waves and the wind to obey him, or healed people’s sicknesses, such miracles and so many miracles convinced multitudes of people that Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be – the Son of God and equal with God.
This is something that needs to sink into our hearts. Jesus was a great miracle worker. There never was a problem he could not fix, there never was a sick person He could not heal, and there never was a dead person He could not raise to life.
In all the history of the world, no one ever did the miracles that the Lord Jesus did. Sometimes the Lord healed one or two people in a home, along a roadside, or on a mountainside, but at other times he healed every sick person in a great crowd. The Lord did miracles in so many places as he ministered all over Galilee and Judaea so that everyone in the land knew about His miracles and they wanted to see him heal people or even raise the dead.
So, because Jesus can do miracles we have proof that He is God, and because he is God we have reason to believe that He is able to forgive our sins. We may not need to be healed from a physical sickness, but we do have sin in our hearts. Like the people whom Jesus helped and healed, our greatest need is to be forgiven for our sins. Sin is like a disease that is killing us and destroying our lives. It paralyzes us so that we cannot live for God, nor please Him. We must be pardoned from our sins or we perish. Sin must go, or else we must go out from God into everlasting destruction.
So, the scribes got their answer. They said, “No man can forgive sins but God,” but the Lord demonstrated before them that He was God. You need to realize that Jesus is God. Until you accept Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God you won’t go to him for salvation. You will stay away in your unbelief. You may play at church, but you will never trust in the Lord as your very own Saviour until you confess that He is God in the flesh.
So let this miracle of Jesus healing the paralyzed man stay in your mind. Don’t forget it, for this miracle of healing was performed to prove the point that Jesus is God and has the power to forgive sin. He will forgive your sin too the moment to call on the Lord to save you. He has the power to do it, and He never turns anyone away who trusts in Him to save their souls from sin.
Pastor Ian Goligher
June 13, 2021