“One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 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. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5.17-20
The four friends and the paralytic has to be one of the all time favorite miracles of Jesus. I know it is one of mine. It’s a timeless classic in which four friends show incredible resolve in order to help bring their brother to Christ. I can’t even fathom the number of sermons that have been preached on this amazing miracle.
You rememberer the story, Jesus is in Galilee and teachers of the law from Jerusalem and Judaea come to meet with Jesus. The reason for the large gathering was to see and hear from Jesus. I find no reason for the large crowds than Jesus’s presence. Otherwise, why would the religious elite show up in a small fishing village? If you were driving in a car, the distance is two and a half hours. But on foot, it was a full day walking. Just over 100 miles. This is no small journey for those who have nothing but their own feet or perhaps a donkey to carry them.
Jesus had “rock star” status and everyone who was anyone was watching the show. The “important people” were inside a house with Jesus, he was sitting, teaching and discussing the Scriptures. But there was no room to simply walk into the house. It was packed. So these four friends, dug a hole in the roof made of thatch, clay and tiles and lowered their friend “right in front of Jesus.” Drastic times require drastic measures.
Now there are so many angels to take this, so many different points to be made. Should it be the incredible daring of the friends to “cut in line” by finding a way to get to Jesus? Should it be the audacity of these friends who would tear up the roof of a strangers house just to help their friend? Or should it be the mess made, the interruption caused when tiles and dust started falling from the ceiling upon Jesus and the religious leaders below?
The most significant point of this miracle isn’t the miracle of the friends‘ persistence but the miracle of the Messiah waiting patiently for the men to dig, to lower down a paralyzed man and to perform not only healing but to offer forgiveness of sins to a man desperately in need of salvation.
The miracle is always Jesus. It’s always the God who holds nothing back to save us from our sins, heal us from our infirmities, release us from our chains.
“O Lord God, you are gracious. Thank you for saving us from our sins and from our selves. Thank you for the benefit of your passion and the trust in your grace. Come now, Holy Spirit, help us be more like you. Help us to run to you, to find strength in your name and reliance upon your faith. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen