And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
When you read this passage do you wonder about the man on the stretcher? Do you think about the one who was helpless and needed his friends to bring him to Jesus? When I consider his plight I imagine that he was one without a hope for the future. His world was certainly dark and depressing. Yet he had friends who were willing to help him and that friendship made all the difference. Thank God for the faith of these who greatly loved him.
I love how this passage teaches us about the two types of healing - inner and outer. My wife has been in two rehabilitation hospitals since she came off a ventilator this summer. I have watched her outer body get stronger as the weeks have gone by. And, in a sense, the outer strength simply echoed her inner fortitude. In reality we all have healing needs. Yet the need to forgive and be forgiven often seems to be the greatest need of all.
Thank you Lord Jesus for the forgiveness that you offer. Help me to reflect it in my life.