“They went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”—Luke 5:19-20
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus’ first response to meeting the man lowered through the roof is to tell him his sins are forgiven? When I hear this story, I always expect his first response would be to address the man’s paralysis and heal him physically. On the other hand, I know from other stories in the Gospels that Jesus is very, very good at reading people and knowing what they most deeply want and need. So if the first thing Jesus did was to tell the paralytic that he was forgiven, I have a feeling that was what the man needed most, even more than being able to walk again.
I wonder if the man’s friends knew that sins—or maybe the shame he carried with him after sinning—imprisoned him. I wonder if they knew he needed Jesus’ healing touch in his heart as much, if not more than he needed physical healing. Were they surprised by Jesus’ forgiving words? Did they rejoice when Jesus forgave him, even before they knew he would also heal the man’s paralysis? Maybe they knew that being able to walk again was just icing on the cake—like they would have been happy to go home even if they had to carry their friend back on his bed.
For prayer: Do you have family or friends who have metaphorically carried you to Jesus when you needed help? Say a prayer of thanksgiving for them now. Is there anyone in your life who needs your help finding their way to (or back to) God? Ask God for the wisdom to know how to reach out to them.