Power To Forgive Sins - Luke 5

Power To Forgive Sins - Luke 5

An amazing thing about the story of Jesus healing the paralytic in Luke 5 is the inclusion of verses 20-24a.

Without those verses, you still have a very remarkable story. Being paralyzed in the first-century Judean world would be devastating. Without Medicare disability, workers comp, disability insurance, etc., you would be reduced to begging from friends, family, and strangers. No work = no eat.

The report of Jesus being a great miracle healer had spread throughout the whole country, as seen in the fact that there were teachers of law present who had come from "every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem". The gathering place where Jesus was is so crowded that there simply is no more room, especially for one that has to be carried on a stretcher.

I imagine as I read this story the excitement that the paralytic would have had when he heard that Jesus was in town. I try to picture the conversation that he would have had with his friends. Today was going to change everything for him!

Then to arrive and discover that you can't get close enough to Jesus to be noticed! They are not to be deterred. The determination of the friends to lower him through the roof is remarkable! The faith of the paralytic to let them do it is also remarkable.

Skipping verses 20-24a, Jesus "said to the man who was paralyzed -- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home." Imagine the joy in the heart of this once paralyzed man as he immediately rose up, picked up his bed, and went home, glorifying God. His whole life has been changed. No greater gift could be given... well, wait. There IS a better gift and Jesus DID give it to him!

Thus, the middle verses are so important. "Your sins are forgiven you." Jesus power over the spiritual world and the right to forgive sins (that which is unobservable and unprovable) was demonstrated by the lesser gift of healing. Though they might not believe 'His word', yet they should believe 'because of his works'! Many did. The paralytic glorified God. The crowd was seized with amazement and awe and also glorified God.

BUT, I wonder, what did they glorify God for? For the healing of the paralytic OR the availability of forgiveness of sins? Which would have produced the most amazement and awe in them? Every morning the paralytic would arise and be reminded of what Jesus did for his body, would he remember the forgiveness of his sins? Did the crowd talk about seeing the paralytic walk or hearing Jesus forgive his sins?

I wonder about this as I watch people today who worrying, seeking, and praying for their physical health than they do for the forgiveness of their sins. That is not to suggest that we should not pray about our health and physical situation, but rather to remind us that the greater need of every man is to be forgiven of his sins. We are appointed to die. We need above everything else to be prepared for meeting God. Jesus and Jesus alone has the power to forgive our sins. Jesus has proclaimed the conditions upon which He will forgive.

Which part of the story in Luke 5 is most important to you? 

Hugh DeLong