7619 - A Paralytic Walks

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We all generally understand the value of good friendships, and in this study we consider a man who had very good friends.

Our Scripture portion for study today is Luke 5:17-26. It relates how Jesus healed a paralytic who then walked away carrying the mat on which he had been so helpless.

Listen as I read the scripture: Luke 5:17-26:
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.
Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."

We are told that many Pharisees were around Jesus in this passage. This is the first use of the word ‘Pharisee’ in Luke’s gospel. The name Pharisee literally comes from the term ‘separated.’

After the return from captivity some spiritual leaders were committed to teaching and keeping the law in detail. In contrast others were more interested in social position. As this division became more pronounced, those more interested in political power became know as the Sadducees. The leaders standing for legalistic adherence to the Law were known as Pharisees.

The party of Pharisees held more influence with the people as they performed all acts of public worship, prayer and sacrifices. The Pharisees believed in the existence of angels, spirits and life after death. These truths were denied by the Sadducees.

The Pharisees, through the decades became very legalistic, and emphasized traditions even above Scripture. This was the status during the life of Jesus.

This passage indicates Pharisees and teachers of the law had come from all over Galilee and even Judea to hear Jesus. Jesus had been in public ministry about a year. Perhaps these leaders felt that Jesus was a threat to their power and prestige, because the report about Jesus had traveled extensively and crowds of people came to see Him and to be healed by Him.

In this passage, friends of a palsied man brought him to Jesus for healing, but they could not get into the house because of the crowd of people. Shrewdly they opened a place in the roof tiles and lowered their friend before Jesus.

We notice that the faith of these friends impressed Jesus, so he told the man that his sins were forgiven. This caused great consternation among the Pharisees. In their minds they knew that only God could forgive sins.

Jesus challenged their thoughts by offering a test. Would it be easier to say that this man’s sins are forgiven or to raise him to health?

Without waiting for an answer he raised this paralytic to health and told him to take his mat and go home. Obediently he did so while glorifying God. The onlookers were filled with fear, but even then did not acknowledge that Jesus was indeed divine. This mind-set of the Pharisees continued in the following months.