Week 1 | Wednesday
Who is Jesus?
Jesus and a Paralyzed Man
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 5:17-26
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 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?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
- It’s easy to focus on the eagerness of the paralyzed man’s friends, the grumbling Pharisees, and the miracle that happens here, and all of those are very significant. But as we continue to try to learn more about Jesus, what can we learn about his powers of observation in this vignette? What is Jesus able to see and understand that we don’t?
- The passage doesn’t specify all that is paralyzed in this man. I tend to think about his limbs mostly. But I wonder if, like a stroke victim, his ability to communicate is limited as well? How might that impact his sense of self and all that is essentially hidden or trapped inside of him–both sins and faith?
- How would you answer Jesus’ question: “Which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
- How do you feel about Jesus being able to read your thoughts? Is that good news or bad news?
- If you had to choose between a physical healing and forgiveness of sins, what does your heart gravitate towards?
- Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to God, especially if we know our hearts aren’t quite in the place we think God would want us to be. Borrowing the words from the psalm-writers can be a good way to turn to God in faith, and even learn to walk in their ways. Psalm 130 is a good example of this in relation to today’s passage:
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
“Lord, I give You my heart-I give You my soul! I live for You alone.” I have sung those words with passion, yet I acknowledge my desires are not always pure. As I open my heart to God this morning, I want to want what He wants. Even as I say that, I can feel the tug inside me to get moving. As imperfect as I am, I surrender the day ahead to You. “This is my desire tho honor You.”
This may not be where I should be riding at this time and I do have so much inside my heart that I can think of. But I have to say thank you so much Kaitlyn for posting these every day. I find myself waking up at 4 AM anticipating the chime on my phone to go off so I can read this. Even some days when the pain at night is so bad that I barely get an hour sleep but that’s neither here nor there. I am so grateful to be able to get up and read these.Forever two or more gathered and I know that there are more than two people that are reading these and I actually at that moment feel a part of something beautiful. Thank you
Peg - I am so glad you're able to connect with us every day. <3
Even the greatest of Jesus's healings such as recalling Lazarus from the dead after four days only lasted for a time until he died again. However, this restored Lazarus who was set free had an opportunity to commune with Jesus which is the greatest gift.
I'm always struck by the line: "When Jesus saw THEIR faith", referring to the man's friends. It gives me hope for friends and family that we try to bring to Jesus. But even so, we see even more clearly here that the physical healing was only a sign pointing to what he, and we, really need, which is heart-healing. May we grow in our faith to trust Jesus to heal what we really need, which may not always be what we think it is. And may we never forget or take lightly the amazing forgiveness he offers us.
Tom, this is also what I noticed today. It encourages me to keep praying for my friends and family members who need physical, spiritual, and emotional healing.
This is a pretty minor story, but its impact has stuck with me. I remember a time I had signed up to bring a meal to some friends after they had a baby. It's something that blessed me when I had my children, so I was eager to help others in the same way. But on this particular occasion I completely forgot I had signed up until they called to check on me. I felt SO bad and was beating myself up for dropping the ball. They were gracious and got a pizza--it didn't impact our friendship in any way. But I was still regretting my (lack of) action. Suddenly it occurred to me that this was what forgiveness was about. There was absolutely nothing I could do to undo the past, but Jesus releases me from any debt, loves me for who I am, and allows me to move forward without guilt or shame. I accepted his gift of forgiveness and moved on, better for the lesson I had learned.