Jump Start # 2545
Luke 5:20 “And seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’”
Our verse today is the incredible words that Jesus spoke to a crippled man. It is a wonderful story. We ought to see ourselves in this story. There are many places that we fit in this story.
Jesus is teaching in a house. It’s packed. Standing room only is the expression we use today. Four friends, heroes of this story, bring a crippled man to Jesus. The Lord has healed. Word has spread about this compassionate Teacher who does what no one else can. So, they carry their crippled man to Jesus. They have hopes and faith that if the Lord would see their friend, then Jesus would heal him.
They get to the house but they can’t get in. No one is making any space for them. That doesn’t stop these four friends. Most of us would have gone home. We would have said, “We tried, but we couldn’t get close.” “Next time, we’ll leave earlier.” Not these guys. They came this far and they were not going home. Not, yet. They wanted Jesus to see their friend.
We are not told, who came up with the idea, but since they couldn’t go through the door, they decided to go through the roof. Up to the top they carry this crippled man. Pulling apart the roof, I can see three or four faces looking through the opening they made. Dust, debris would have fallen on the listeners below. It would take a large opening to put a man on a cot through. They worked and worked. They lowered the crippled man down. About this time, most folks probably are not looking at Jesus. They are looking at what is taking place right before them. These guys had the nerve to tear up someone’s roof, interrupt Jesus, and put their friend in front of everyone else.
And, it is here that our verse for today is found. Seeing their faith. They weren’t sitting in a church building. They weren’t passing out tracts. They weren’t standing before an image refusing to bow down. None of those things. They were lowering a friend through a roof in front of Jesus. And, that, the Bible says is faith. A faith that didn’t give up. A faith that believed the Lord could heal. A faith that overcame obstacles. Faith, if it is any good at all, needs to be seen.
In our verse, there is something remarkable that follows. The first thing Jesus says is, “your sins are forgiven.” He says that before He heals the crippled. And, from that, consider some thoughts.
First, healing of the soul is much more important than healing of the body. Had Jesus only healed the crippled man’s legs, he would have gone home still crippled. He would have been crippled in his heart. Had he lived another forty years and died, he could have told others about what Jesus did to his legs, but with a crippled heart, he would have never been with the Lord on the other side. Healing the soul is much more important than the body.
We often get that backwards. How many times do we pray for a co-worker’s mom who has cancer. Good brethren, who do not know the co-worker, let alone, his mom, pray. And, if the Lord grants her more years, very little is ever said again. We got what we wanted, a healed body. But what if that co-worker’s mom lives on and on and dies without knowing Jesus? Wouldn’t it be better to pray that her eyes be opened to the God of Heaven and earth, so that, even if she passes through the door of death, her sins would be forgiven if she faithfully walked with the Lord.
Jesus understood the most important thing. It’s not a long life here. It’s the salvation of our souls. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. He didn’t come to only fix crippled legs. A long life without Jesus is really no life at all.
Second, even though Jesus recognized faith being demonstrated here, sins needed to be forgiven. Only God can forgive sins. That is the discussion immediately following this. How can Jesus forgive sins? He’s not God is He? Jesus asks, which is easier to say, ‘You have been forgiven,’ or, ‘rise up and walk.’ You and I can do neither one. Rising up and walking is much easier, even for Jesus. Forgiveness of sins implies a cross and a death necessary to pay for those sins. It is easier to say walk.
Third, as the crippled man, now no longer crippled, worked his way through that crowded house, carrying his stretcher, you can imagine the joy and excitement when he locked eyes with his friends coming down from the rooftop. It was mission accomplished. It was great happiness and joy. The Lord brings that to us. Jesus could have scolded these people for interrupting Him. He could have said, ‘You must wait your turn and it’s not your turn.’ But, He didn’t. Jesus allowed interruptions. He was never too busy to be bothered. Helping others, especially spiritually, is what the Lord was all about.
Fourth, as these friends left that day, I wonder if there was someone in the audience who had a crippled child or a crippled parent at home. How they may have wished to have brought them that day. They didn’t have the courage. They didn’t think about it. And, to see what good was done, and how so many in that audience would have had people in their lives that they wished could have been healed by Jesus.
And, to us, we must wonder, how many times do we hear a sermon and think, ‘I wish I had brought my friend to hear this.’ How many lack the courage to ask. How many are afraid that it’s too much of a bother. And, there we see lives being changed and we think, and we know, there are others we wish were there.
The Bible never follows these lives that were changed. I would love to have seen these friends all together that evening. The tears. The joy. The faith. The love. What became of that crippled man? What became of his friends? They had a brief intersection with Jesus and from that their lives were changed, likely for eternity.
And, isn’t that our story? And, we find ourselves on that cot, crippled with worry, problems and fear. Friends urge us on to Jesus. Or, we are one carrying that cot with a friend on it. We don’t know what to do. The problems are greater than we are. But we know Jesus. He can do all things. Let’s take them to Jesus.
Without these four friends, the crippled man would never had been healed. Without Jesus, the crippled man would never had been healed. When those two came together, great things happened.
It still does today, through hope, forgiveness and second chances.