Great Lengths

When I was a little girl, my favorite Bible story was about the paralytic man whose friends or perhaps even family took him up to the roof of the house and lowered him down, so Jesus could heal him. They were desperate to help this man! I really didn’t grow up knowing a lot of Bible stories, but perhaps this one came from Vacation Bible School, and it set my young mind to picture who Jesus is.

First, I wondered why Jesus was so popular that they couldn’t go straight in. Then I wondered what He thought of a man slowly descending on a mat from the ceiling. Did He smile because of their confidence in Him? Did He have a knowing look of the pain this man endured? Then I wondered what kind of friend or person this man was that they’d take such measures to help him. Finally, I wondered what kind of friends or family would go to such lengths…such a huge risk to be of help. The story is in the first three gospels, but Luke (The doctor) tells us the most. Here is what he wrote:

Luke 5:17-25 (New International Version)
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.W
hen 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.

This makes me wonder how many people we take before Jesus to ask (intercede) for their healing? Are we bold and believing? Do we expect Him to answer? Then I wonder, are we the kind of friend others would take before Jesus? I think when it comes down to it, to be that kind of friend that others would go to great lengths for, we have to be that kind of friend, as well. Do you accept other people’s prayers for you, but not pray for others yourself? I think the point of this story is to show that Jesus can forgive sins, and He can heal. The first matters the most. We truly do need Him to forgive us from our sins. But the second, He cares about, too. He wants to heal us physically as well as mentally and spiritually.
What do you need today? Ask Him! He’s so BIG and His joy when we ask believingly is huge!

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