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“And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling, with his couch, into the midst before Jesus.” — Luke 5:19.
the forgiveness of Jesus is the Bridge between our past, and His future!
WHAT A lovely human interest story this is! The crowds that gathered around our Lord, as He taught them, were so great that they filled not only the house where He was staying, with the Pharisees and learned men sitting by, but overflowed into a vast multitude in the fore-court. The Master may have stood on the balcony of a double-storied house, so as to be able to reach the crowds within and without.
As He was teaching, presently four men approached, carrying on a hammock slung between them a paralysed man. We are not told in so many words that they were young men, but their earnestness and ingenuity incline one to this idea. Perhaps they had been school-chums together, and as they grew up they may have entered upon evil ways—”sown their wild oats” together, and one of their number may have been suffering from the consequences, for our Lord very distinctly set the pardon of his sins before the healing of his body. His four companions had probably heard Christ preach and had become His followers, for it was “seeing their faith” that He performed this miracle of salvation and healing. They agreed that by hook or by crook they would bring their friend into Christ’s gracious presence. Unable to make their way through the throng, they were not daunted, but climbed up on to the roof, and the record says, “let him down through the tiling.” Lowered by strong hands, with its four ropes, the hammock swung to the feet of the Master, and the expectant imploring eyes of this poor fellow could not make a more eloquent appeal for help than did the evident faith of his bearers.
The words with which our Lord greeted him were very tender and gracious: “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee!” One of the sure means of physical health is to be assured of spiritual cleansing and forgiveness (James 5:14-16). Would that we were all equally anxious to bring our friends to Christ. If four would agree about a fifth, and never rest until he or she was brought to Jesus, what a revival would break out (John 4:28-30).
The message that Jesus gave to the palsied man is given to us. “They brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed.” There was a crowd around the house in which Jesus was, and the sick man’s friends sought a way to bring him directly to Christ, that they might lay him before him. “And when they could not find what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.”
Christ saw that the man was suffering with bodily disease, and he saw also that he was suffering with a sin-sick soul. He knew that in order to heal bodily maladies he must bring relief to the mind, and cleanse the soul from sin. The man needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. The Saviour was not unmindful of the effort that was made to bring the man to him, and his heart of love and pity was moved. “He saw their faith,” and it was enough. “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee,” he said to the sick man. Many watched with bated breath every movement in this strange transaction, feeling that Christ’s words were an invitation to them. Were they not soul-sick? Were they not anxious to get rid of their burden of guilt?
But the Pharisees could not conceal their anger. As if filled with holy horror, they began to reason, saying, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sin, but God alone?” But it was the Son of the living God who had uttered the words, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Had not the Pharisees been blinded by prejudice, they would have seen that he who was before them was the Christ, and that he was in the Father, and the Father in him. “I and my Father are one,” he declared.
“When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (he said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” He was healed of the leprosy of sin, healed of the maladies that had afflicted his body, healed every whit. “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.”
Dear Lord, Enlarge our souls with Your Divine Love, that we may hope all things, endure all things, and become messengers of Your healing mercy to the grievances and infirmities of our experience, to all other people that You have placed in our path. AMEN.