I came across the story of the paralyzed man in Luke 5:17-26 during my devotional time.In this passage we find Jesus teaching in a house, as a group of friends tries to bring their paralyzed friend in to see Jesus but they weren’t able to get through the crowd. Nonetheless, they climb the roof and lower him to Jesus so that their friend would be healed. If you’ve been around the Christian world for five minutes you’ve probably heard about this story and possibly heard a sermon about it as well.
Either way, let’s talk about it shall we?
It dawned on me that this passage probably has multiple current day applications, as does the entire Bible. Duh, it’s the living, breathing word of God. It never stops being relevant. However, for the purposes of this rant, let’s look at one in particular. This story is full of lessons because at one point or another in our lives we can connect with any of these main characters – with the exception of Jesus, because He’s Jesus and perfect, moving on.
First, let’s breakdown the cast:
- The Pharisees
- The Friends
- The Paralyzed Man
Let’s start with Jesus, he’s our main focal point. The entire story revolves around our cast of characters needing and eventually getting something from Him. The Pharisees want to learn from him, the paralyzed man’s friends want to get their friend to Him and the paralyzed man wants to be healed by Him. Don’t we all at some point in our lives want to learn from Him, want a friend or loved one to have an encounter with Him and at times we’re the ones that need a special touch from Him.
See, you’re already connecting with the cast.
Let’s dissect this a little more. The Pharisees have a bad reputation in the Christian world because of what they did to Jesus; after all they were the ones that had Him crucified and all. However, don’t be so quick to judge them because we all have an inner Pharisee that needs to be shushed every once in a while. While your Pharisitical (I don’t know if this is a word) instinct might not be to crucify Jesus we all have moments when we think “Why them?” or “Why not me?” or “They came to church, wow!”. I know you were adjusting your halo while reading that last sentence but I’ll be the first to admit that I have moments like that ALL the time. Jesus wasn’t surprised when the Pharisees questioned Him after he healed the paralyzed man and He’s not surprised when we do. Just remember that today you might question why somebody was healed or blessed, tomorrow you might be the one in need of a blessing or healing.
Now that we’ve silenced the Pharisee in all of us, let’s talk about the friends that fought to get the paralyzed man to Jesus. Those are some real friends. They came in clutch, as kids these days are saying. They deserve a round of applause because they saw beyond the physical circumstances that were staring them down. First, they looked past the fact that their friend could not move. They carried him on a mat, meaning they looked for a way to get their friend to Jesus. They could have easily gone to Jesus and asked Jesus to come to their friend. However, they showed the Lord they were desperate, they took no chances of not getting to Jesus. I ask myself, if the Lord responds to us according to the depth of our desperation and we’re not currently seeing a response to our current situation, how desperate are we? Desperate enough to lower a friend through the roof to have an encounter with Jesus? What’s our metaphorical roof? The passage talks about the tiles of the roof being moved away for them to accomplish their goal. I wonder what we need to move out of the way to show the Lord we mean business.
Also, let’s not forget that they didn’t know if Jesus was going to heal their friend. What if Jesus just left it at “your sins are forgiven but you’re not going to walk again”. Thank God he didn’t, but the truth is all the trouble they went through to get their friend before Jesus would have been worth it. All in all, we all have seasons in our lives when we have to be just like these friends. Regardless of whether we’re removing physical or emotional obstacles to get a friend or loved one before the Lord. Or maybe it’s not a friend or loved one, maybe it’s your dreams and visions that need to go before the Lord to be healed.
Just before you get tired of reading my rant, let’s talk about the paralyzed man. I’ve definitely been the paralyzed man, and will probably be him again a couple more times. Different situations and circumstances will paralyze us. Some of us become physically paralyzed. We stop moving towards our goals and God – given dreams. At times it can be a spiritual or emotional paralysis. In any of these cases we need three things: Jesus, the desire to be healed, and a friend or a couple of friends that will carry you and lower you down to be face to face with Jesus. We all need Jesus at all times, so that’s a given. The desire to be healed sounds like a given but sometimes isn’t because our pride gets in the way. There have been times in my life when I’ve refused to accept that I need to be healed. Personally, I tend to think I am a millennial, feminist super woman who goes to therapy and knows it all and is perfectly fine and nothing can touch me. I’ve been known to also be very wrong. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with friends that have no problem reminding me that I’ve been broken and that’s it’s perfectly fine to need a touch from my God. Which brings me to last point, I know, finally… Surround yourself with a community of people that love God and you ferociously enough to climb a roof whilst carrying you, just so you can get your healing; both in the metaphorical sense and the realest way possible.
All the while remembering that in this life we’re all in a constant cycle of being cast in these roles. Whether you’re paralyzed or helping a paralyzed friend or maybe you’re smack in the midst of Pharisitical (it’s probably still not a word) phase, it doesn’t matter because Jesus is waiting and He’s not surprised by the role you’re currently playing and has the answers and/or healing you seek.
Grace Torres Firpi