February 13, 2020 – Thursday
Luke 5:17 NIV
17 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.
Today we come to the third iteration of this story. We have already looked at it, first in Matthew and then in Mark. Today, in Luke, we have additional details right at the beginning. There were both Pharisees and teachers of the law in attendance while Jesus was teaching. People had come from near and far, some as far away as Jerusalem, approximately 120 miles away (about the same distance as that between Dayton, OH and Indianapolis, IN), easily a three or four day trip on foot, to hear Jesus teach or to be healed or both.
Once again we find 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. But they could not because there were so many thronged about Jesus. Thus 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. Again there must have been dirt, small pebbles, parts of the tiles falling about Jesus as they carefully lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus. So Jesus was probably looking up watching the paralyzed man be lowered down right in front of Him.
We are not told, but Jesus must have been amazed at their love for their friend. We are told 20 When Jesus saw their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” He did not heal him, instead He forgave his sins! Then, quite correctly 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?” And they were correct, only God and God alone can forgive sins. Likely all the Jews in attendance were thinking the same thing.
Of course 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? ” And He knew their thinking was not in error and He wanted them to know that. So He continued on and asked another seemingly brazen question 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Brazen because only God could do either one of these not some mortal man. However, Jesus does not let the question stand but for a fleeting moment before He adds 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. And of course Jesus is the Son of Man and had already called Himself such in direct reference to Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV
“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Having asserted He is the Son of Man given authority to forgive sins, before they can speak in response He says to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” No sooner than Jesus had spoken these words than 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Luke ends this short narrative by writing 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Yes they had seen remarkable things and most remarkably they had seen direct evidence of God in the flesh! Only God could have done what Jesus had done. Plus Jesus had given a very important lesson – forgiveness and a relationship with God should come before any healing. The healing lasts but a few years while a relationship with God lasts for eternity.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about this over three days. I know I have found great pleasure in discovering different details in each telling of the faith the four friends of the paralyzed man. And I also thought if it was important enough to be told three separate times in scripture, the least I could do was address it three times as well. Thank you for your interest.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton