The Book of Luke, The Healing of the Paralytic, Part II - Lesson 57
Luke 5:17-26, And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19And 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. 20And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24But 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. 25And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
What I am about to say in the beginning of this lesson is not from the Bible but is an account of what might have taken place before the events recorded for us by Luke.
We know for a fact that there was a man who was stricken with the palsy and who lived somewhere in the area of Capernaum and that he had four loyal friends who brought him by stretcher to Jesus Christ for healing.
Luke nor any of the Gospel writers name this man nor are the four helpers named.
But for the purposes of this lesson we will name these men and surmise some of the events which led up to this miraculous healing.
Letís call the man with palsy by the name of Simon.
Simon was a man of Capernaum who had worked hard all his life but beginning a few years prior to this event of scripture he had come down with the disease of palsy which slowly caused him to be without strength and because of it he was now paralyzed, unable to walk on his own or work to provide for his family.
He now depended upon his family and friends to help him do the most basic of things.
Everything he did required help.
He could not even crawl from place to place because he was paralyzed.
But in spite of his crippling infirmity he was able to keep up with the goings on of the community because he had such good friends who would visit him regularly.
And what exciting things his friends related to him, for his friends would tell him about a man called Jesus who had preached in Nazareth and Capernaum and all around Galilee and not only preached but performed great healings of all manner of diseases.
Many were saying that this man was the Messiah that had been promised by God throughout the scriptures.
Simonís heart ached to be able to go to this man Jesus and seek to be healed of the terrible disease that his body bore.
How he wanted to be able to walk upright and to work and to care for his family.
But how could this be seeing that he could only lay on his bed unable to do anything by himself?
He was helpless unless God intervened in his case.
But Simon had friends and perhaps they could do something for him that he could not do for himself.
And now the news of the day that Joseph his friend brought, lifted his heart for Simon learned that Jesus was in town at a meeting called by the religious leaders of Israel.
Perhaps his friends could take him to see Jesus at this meeting.
So Simon implored Joseph to get Zechariah, Micah and Jacob all close friends to take him to Jesus.
These men were stalwart and faithful God fearing friends who would find a way to get Simon to Jesus for they also believed that Jesus would help their friend.
So they gathered together and placed Simon on a pallet and with one at each of the corners of the pallet they began their journey to the house where they heard Jesus was preaching.
They were on a mission of mercy and would do anything to help their friend.
These four men were not about to be stopped in their mission to get their friend healed.
But it took some time to get Simon to the house for the way was rough and long but they tried to make it as comfortable as possible and not bring any more pain than absolutely necessary to Simon.
But as they approached the house they could not believe their eyes for all entry to the house was blocked.
There were so many people who had come before them to hear the preaching of this man Jesus and to perhaps witness a miracle for the fame of him had spread like wildfire throughout the region.
They had even heard of the leper that was full of leprosy that was completely healed by this miracle worker of God and they personally knew others who received healing by this man Jesus.
For a leper to be healed was unheard of and certainly this man must be from God in order to accomplish that!
So there was urgency in their hearts that compelled them to do anything to get their friend to Jesus.
They looked over the situation and did not falter in their determination to get Simon to Jesus.
The people were many and they blocked normal entrance to the house but they thought that there must be a way to Jesus.
They looked and saw that there were stairs to the roof located on the outside of the house.
There indeed was a way if they would not let propriety and normalcy keep them from this important task.
They did seem to worry out others would think of them but concentrated on the job at hand, getting their friend to Jesus.
We are not to picture the crippled man on a modern carefully designed and constructed ambulance-type stretcher, but we are to picture a kind of makeshift pallet upon which these four men carried their friend up the stairs to the roof.
Hands may have slipped in the process of getting their friend to the roof, and I can imagine that on several occasions this man Simon feared for his life as he dangled precariously on his pallet, in danger of falling to the earth.
Here he was unable to even walk or crawl and he entrusted his life to his friends as they carried him up the stairs.
There was no where else to turn for Simon for only this Jesus had the answer to his condition.
So finally the men and Simon made it the roof and carried the stretcher over the hot tiles of the roof.
No doubt a buzz sounded from the crowd.
What are those men doing with the cripple?
Why are they taking the house apart? Get the landlord and stop these fellows!
And then some saw them lowering the man down through the roof which Iím sure put shivers up Simonís spine.
Just try to coordinate four men lowering a pallet all together so the man does not fall out on the way down to the floor.
Simon may have cautioned his friends to work together at all costs with none getting ahead of the other.
This called for equal working together of the brethren to get this man to Jesus.
There was to be no grandstanding or outstanding performance on the part of one over the others.
This called for working together for the benefit of Simon.
The scene, as viewed from below, must have been just as amusing.
The house was filled with people, we are told.
It is this large group of listeners who take up all the room inside this house, and who keep the paralytic man from being brought before Jesus in a normal way.
What a humorous sight it must have been to watch these prim and proper (and very proud) teachers as the roof was being removed.
It would have been a very dirty business.
It could have been dangerous as well.
If there were roof tiles, a tile might occasionally have been dropped.
Canít you just see the teachers below, scrambling out of the way of a falling tile?
Markís account tells us that they dug through the roof (Mark 2:4), implying that there was some dirt or something like it on top of the tiles.
All of this ďstuffĒ came tumbling down on those seated so proudly and properly below.
I suppose some of the stuff even fell on Jesus.