38: Lowered To Jesus' Feet
Jesus was in Capernaum again. From all sides people streamed toward the house where He was staying. People came from all over the land to listen to Him. Some came out of curiosity, like certain scribes and Pharisees.
The house was full, and the inner court was full. People even crowded around the door in hopes of hearing a word from Jesus' mouth or catching sight of Him for a moment.
Four men came walking toward the house with an unusual burden. They were carrying a bed, a mattress. On that bed lay a sick man.
The sick man lay so still that he seemed to be dead. There was life only in his eyes. Those eyes were shining with joy and hope because he was going to Jesus.
He could never have gotten to Jesus alone. He was paralyzed; he couldn't move any part of his body. The poor man needed constant attention; he had to be fed like a baby.
Worse than the disease ravaging his body was the unrest in his heart. The burden of his sins weighed on him even more heavily than the burden of his suffering.
Often during long, still nights, he thought about how he, with all his sins, would have to appear before God someday. When he thought about this he was too frightened to sleep. His life was a constant torment for him, and death terrified him. He was sick in both body and soul.
Who could possibly heal him? The people he lived with did their best to care for him, but they couldn't heal him. His friends came to offer him comfort, but their words did him little good.
Only Jesus could help him. That much he knew. His friends thought that too. Now those faithful friends brought him to Jesus. They had already approached the house where Jesus was staying. Everything would turn out well after all!
But people crowded around the door, and no one would step aside for them. There was no way to get through.
What should they do? Bring their friend back to his room, with his hopes dashed? They didn't even consider it. They had to bring him to Jesus.
Suddenly a plan occurred to them. They whispered; they pointed; they nodded happily. Sure! That would work!
This house, like every other house, had a stairway leading to the flat roof. The four men carried their friend up the stairs on his bed. They were panting when they reached the roof.
Now they could see into the inner court, which was full of people. They were so close to Jesus that they could hear His voice! They could tell exactly where He was standing. When they lifted up one of the roof tiles, they saw Him below!
Eagerly they removed more and more tiles. They made a great opening in the roof right above the place where Jesus stood. They tied ropes to the four corners of their friend's bed. With pounding hearts they carefully lowered him through the opening. Slowly he descended; he was lowered to Jesus' feet.
Jesus stopped talking to the people. He saw that the man on the bed had raised his eyes to Jesus in supplication. He looked up and saw four faces looking down at Him, four pairs of hopeful eyes.
Jesus knew exactly what was going on. The life of the paralyzed man was an open book to Him.
He healed the man's soul first. He said to him, "Take courage, My son. Your sins are forgiven."
The scribes who were watching Jesus were shocked. They did not notice that the sick man was beaming with joy. They only heard Jesus' words. They thought to themselves, "How does He dare say such a thing? He is blaspheming! Who but God can forgive sins?"
Jesus was watching them. They could sense that He knew what they were thinking.
Jesus said to them, "What are you thinking about in your hearts? Is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up and walk'?"
The scribes said nothing. They were confused and embarrassed. Then Jesus showed them He was not a deceiver but that His Word was always truth. He said, "You shall know that the Son of man has power to forgive sins on earth."
He turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Arise, pick up your bed, and go home."
The man who could not move a single part of his body suddenly jumped up. Rejoicing and thanking Jesus, he picked up the bed on which he had lain motionless for so long. He went his way, healthy and strong.
The people stepped aside and let him through this time. Amazed and almost afraid, they stayed out of his way.
The scribes were even more confused and perplexed. They did not dare raise their eyes to Jesus. They had seen how great His power was.
Couldn't someone capable of banishing paralysis in an instant also forgive a person's sins? Wouldn't such a man have to be the Messiah, the Son of God?
No, Jesus was not guilty of blasphemy. The doubting, unbelieving scribes were the guilty ones!
The man who had been healed returned to his house with his friends, carrying his bed on his shoulder. He was so happy that he danced in the streets.
His life was no longer a daily torment. It would be a festival. He was no longer afraid of death, for his sins had been forgiven!
Both his soul and his body had been healed. The Savior had made all things well.
The people of Capernaum said, "We saw something unbelievable today!"