When we hear about miracles and healings, we often doubt. I get it. Scammers have used faith healing to dupe the masses. And yet God still heals. Today’s challenge is to stop judging the healer and the healed and to bring the sick before the only one who can heal…
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. 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.”
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?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
What is Jesus able to do in your life which you don’t believe is possible? Sometimes when we hear of how God works in the lives of others, we judge them and we judge God. We think that their healing or their vision or their direction from God is fabricated. We might not say it, yet as we are raising our eyebrows and saying, “Ohhhh, that’s amazing,” we are thinking in our hearts, “How did that really happen?”
I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’re human. And we are judging Jesus just like the Pharisees and teachers of the law did in this story. It doesn’t compute and so we go on the offensive in our minds. We are waaayyyy to polite to call it blasphemy to their faces.
The fact is, we don’t know – we aren’t in a position to judge apart from our observations. Yet we do know Jesus and this story reminds us that he is able to heal and forgive. We, ourselves, are forgiven and some of us, like my Lucy, have been healed. So we should have more faith and less judgment…
And so I’ll take the chance that comes with the benefit of the doubt. Because Jesus is able to forgive sins. Because Jesus is able to heal the paralyzed. And I don’t govern that I am not the door-keeper of it. My response, when I see that God has done what only he is able to do, is to be amazed and give him praise. I am to be filled with awe at the remarkable.
And I am to start acting like a true friend. A true friend, as we see in this story, has so much faith that Jesus can heal the bodies and lives of people that he carries his broken friends to Jesus (even through tremendous obstacles) to set up the healing. I want to be like the friends in this story and not like the Pharisees and teachers.
I have a confidence that Jesus is able to heal the brokenness my friend suffers as a single mom, the effects of abuse suffered at the hands of a troubled man, the marriage on the verge of breaking, the addiction, illness, loneliness – all of it. And so I need to be like the friends here. Bring my friends to the healer. To the Saviour.
Amazed, filled with awe, and praising God as I bring my friends...