Let’s read Luke 5:17-21: “Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you’. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone’” (NKJV).

The lesson here is both simple and beautiful. These “four friends” were “true servants” who were willing to overcome every obstacle in order to see their friend blessed by the Lord Jesus. Of course, the obvious obstacle was “the crowd” which was so large they were unable to carry their friend, who was lying on a cot, through the crowd and into the house. But they were determined to “bring Him to Jesus,” believing with all of their hearts that He had the power and the will to heal their paralytic friend. So, in “true service” to their friend, they carried him to the roof of the house, removed some of the tiles, and lowered him into the house. The “other obstacle,” which was even bigger than the crowd, was the religious and self-righteous Pharisees who were on a mission to prevent people from following Jesus Christ. They were quite successful in intimidating the masses, but not so with these four men. Their faith allowed them to resist the Pharisees, even though they would possibly be persecuted for doing so. So, their faith was strong enough to overcome both obstacles and as a result their friend was not only “physically healed” (as we shall see), but “spiritually healed” (by being forgiven of his sins).

Before we go on, we may very well ask, “Why did Jesus tell the man his sins were forgiven BEFORE healing his body?” We saw from our passage that Jesus “saw their faith.” What does this mean? It means that all five men were convinced that Jesus was not a mere man but that HE WAS ALSO GOD! Because He was God, He not only could grant healing to the body but He had the power to forgive sins. Thus Jesus healed the man of his deepest need (the need of forgiveness) before healing his poor body of the palsy. The fact is the man’s physical condition was a picture of his spiritual condition. His paralysis illustrates what all men are, utterly helpless to save themselves from sin and that they need a savior. Romans 5:6 declares, “For when we were still WITHOUT STRENGTH, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” This poor man was just as helpless to save himself from sin as he was to get up and walk! But in faith He came to the One Who had the power to do both and in love for this sinner Jesus healed his soul before He healed his body.

How did the Pharisees react to Jesus pronouncing the man forgiven? They said, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone.” They were right that only God can forgive sins but they were wrong in thinking Jesus was a mere man and guilty of blasphemy. The response by Jesus to them is precious, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God” (verses 22-25). He showed these proud, religious leaders that He had the power and the authority to do both; to heal the body as well as the soul.

Let me ask my fellow-believers in Christ, “Are you carrying on a ministry like these four men? Are you, by faith, BRINGING SOULS TO JESUS to be healed? I am speaking primarily of bringing lost souls to the Lord Jesus so that they too can hear Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven you.” This is a ministry every believer has the privilege and responsibility to carry out. I will close by quoting another account of one who brought one to Jesus: “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him (Jesus), was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ). And HE BROUGHT HIM TO JESUS” (John 1:40-42). (337.5) (DO)