One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord's healing power was strongly with Jesus.
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus,
but they couldn't reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Young man, your sins are forgiven." (Luke 5:17-20)
Notice how this story is prefaced with the fact that Pharisees and teachers of the law had gathered from every village in Galilee and Judea as well as Jerusalem. That is an interesting way to start this story. Very different from all the other stories. This story is headed for a showdown right from the first words. This story is the first that focus on the gathering opposition to Jesus ministry among the leaders of Israel and will ultimately result in His crucifixion. But more on that later. Let's look first at a remarkable thing that happened.
Here is a paralyzed man who has some very loyal friends. They take him, sleeping mat and all, to meet Jesus of whom they heard much about. We don't know specifically whose idea it was to take him to Jesus but there is every possibility that the man himself had a strong desire to be taken to Jesus believing that he would be healed. The reason is that Jesus appears to commend all of them for their faith, including the paralytic. Or alternatively Jesus is commending the friends and then addresses the man's sins and the forgives him. That is, the faith of the friends sparked healing for the man.
The strength of their faith is seen in the lengths they went to in order to take their friend into Jesus' presence. Not only were Pharisees gathered from all over the area but the crowd attracted by so many Pharisees and the fact that Jesus was present was huge. Clearly it was hard to get anywhere near Jesus. The crowd was too tightly packed, especially for getting a paralytic lying on a sleeping mat near to Him. So they went up on the roof. Most houses in the area were made with a rooftop area for finding cool air in the late afternoon and evenings. They even had an external stairway leading up to these rooftop areas. But admittedly not all houses had the external stairway. However it was easy enough to get from one house to another by the rooftops. So the problem of getting their friend up there was not insurmountable. The next part is the surprising element. Once up there, they took some tiles off and lowered the man down into the room below in front of Jesus. Two factors here are remarkable. Firstly their willingness or desperation to the point of opening up a person's roof to see their friend healed. The second is that they open up the roof at exactly the point where Jesus is and manage to lower their friend down precisely in front of him. Both actions require determination and a willingness to be thought crazy or to face the cost of refurbishing later. There is a contrast between the gospel writers here. Luke refers to them removing tiles. That is not so bad in terms of restoration compared with Mark's digging into the roof". That is drastic. Once they have the roof open they lowered the sleeping mat assumedly on a frame down into the crowd below.
Imagine the shock of the people below as suddenly the roof above them is opening up and a sleeping mat lowered with a paralytic on it. Imagine their reaction. Imagine the reaction of the owner of the house as he sees his roof opened up: tiles removed or a dirty great hole "dug" in it. But these friends were not about to submit to protocol or follow the crowd. They were intent on one thing and one thing only: getting their friend into Jesus presence. To do that they would open up someone else's roof top to make it happen. You can bet they didn’t ask permission first but would have had to deal with the consequences after the event. Now you have to admit those are the kind of friends you want when the crunch comes. What about you? Are you that kind of friend to someone else? Would you do anything for your faith? Would you do anything to support your friend's faith?
Tomorrow we will move on to look at the matter of "the forgiveness of sins". This is a major contentious issue, especially with so many Pharisees gathered there.
One day, you'll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one. Sidney Mohede
In God's eyes, it is a great thing to do a little thing well. Richard De Haan
The only people you should try to get even with are those who have helped you! Rick Godwin
You can't leave footprints in the sands of time, sitting on your rear? Who wants to leave butt-prints in the sands of time? Rick Godwin