4 undergraduates fight through a crowd, climb the roof of a dorm and tear through it in order to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They were convinced Jesus could do something about their friend’s condition. How does your zeal-meter compare to theirs?
Read Luke 5:20-26.
Dr. Luke’s record says (v 20) that Jesus sees the faith of the 4 students and says to the paralyzed student, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Does this picture seem right to you? Is Jesus ok?
Can you imagine what this paralyzed student’s eyes are doing? Like what? Why is forgiveness all of a sudden the topic? What happened to a simple healing? It was hard enough to convince me to let the fellas carry me across campus to the Chi Alpha meeting. How do you think the 4 guys were reacting to Jesus’ words?
Jesus’ declaration of the paralytic’s forgiveness does not imply that sin was the immediate cause of his disease. This WAS commonly assumed, even by Jesus’ disciples (John 9:2). Bible theology sees sickness and death as part of the deterioration mankind has suffered because of universal sin. The Bible does say some sickness may be connected with a particular sin (1 Corinthians 11:29-30), but no such connection appears in this context.
How are the Pharisees and teachers of the law reacting? “Who does this guy think he is? This is serious…only God can forgive sins!” Blasphemy by the way, was a capitol crime punishable by stoning. In addition, how could Jesus know what they were thinking unless He WAS…?
Question: If you stole your sister’s money, could I forgive you for that? (No). Why? She has to forgive you. Why? Only the offended has the right to forgive. Why does the Bible then say God forgives ALL sins? Because He is the one offended in all sins. And that implies Jesus is God, because only God would be offended in such a manner.
Back to the earlier question: Why did Jesus say he forgave sin when the 4 guys brought their friend to be healed? Jesus got right to the real issue in this person’s life. Sometimes he healed someone, or fed someone, or taught someone, and then dealt with their need for forgiveness.
But here, he is getting right to the problem of helping this man get his relationship with God straightened out. The healing validates the declaration of forgiveness. The command to the paralyzed man is impossible of fulfillment – except for the power of God.
The man stood up immediately (an act of obedience based on faith), picked up his mat and went home praising God, or honoring God. Be sure to remember Jesus forgave the young man AND healed him. Note that the praise comes from one who has been the object of God’s power and a witness of that power. The crowd was amazed in verse 26, and also gave praise to God.
Do you and I understand the real problem of sin? Are we convinced people need the forgiveness of God? It is hard to be missional if we are fuzzy on our need for forgiveness. Today’s harvest on campus (and in your neighborhood) is urgent. We are responsible to make Christ known to our generation. Walk wisely. His mission is for all of us, so bring your friends to Christ.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz