Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jesus Heals the Paralytic

Today's Sunday school lesson...

We started out with a modern example of an amazing quadriplegic who is truly one of my heroes. As I was preparing the lesson, I watched this video, and it occurred to me that the man in the Bible story from Mark 2 may have had similar thoughts and struggles to what Joni went through. (She also explains what a quadriplegic is in this video, for those who don't know.) In addition to showing the video, I showed some of my paintings (which I did with my hands), and compared them to Joni's paintings (which she did with her teeth!) I think hers are much better than mine, even if you don't take into account the hands/teeth thing.

You may remember how we learned a couple months ago about how Jesus healed the servant of a Roman general, called a centurion, in the city of Capernaum. The centurion asked Jesus to help his dying servant, and before the guy even got home, he found out his servant was well!

Another time, Jesus came to Capernaum to teach. Word got around that Jesus had come home, and everyone wanted to hear what He was gonna tell them. Houses were small at that time, and they usually only had one room. Pretty soon, the house where He was teaching was standing room only, and then there wasn’t even room for that! People kept gathering outside the house straining to hear what Jesus was saying.

Nearby, there lived a quadriplegic. They didn’t have wheelchairs at the time, and the only way disabled people could get around was if their friends helped them. Most people didn’t have beds, so they slept on mats instead. Mats could easily be rolled up and put away so people had room in their small houses to do other things during the day. This paralyzed man and his friends had heard that Jesus could heal things that the doctors couldn’t. They knew they had to get to Him, but what could they do? The house where Jesus was teaching was bursting with a huge crowd of people! They couldn’t exactly walk up to Him and ask Him to heal their friend. So they came up with a creative plan.

Houses were small and only had one room. They also had flat roofs and outdoor stairways leading up to the roofs. That way they had more space to do stuff on top of the house. Roofs were made of mud brick, thatch and other materials. The paralyzed man’s friends saw that even if they couldn’t walk through the door, they had access to the stairs leading up to the roof. So they carried their friend on his mat up the stairs to the roof.

Pretty soon the people down below started hearing footsteps above. Weird. Who was on the roof? Wait a minute! What’s this? Suddenly a shaft of sunlight came through the roof where there shouldn’t be sunlight! Someone was moving away the mud and other stuff that made up the roof, making a hole in the roof right above Jesus! The hole kept growing! Pretty soon, the sunlight was blocked by something being placed in the hole! They watched as slowly, carefully, a paralyzed man was lowered on his mat to the floor at Jesus’ feet. The house was pretty crowded, but somehow they managed to make room for the guy being lowered from above.

Jesus was impressed with their faith. They trusted Him so much that they went to great lengths to get their friend to Him, because they knew He could heal him. So Jesus said to the guy, “Your sins are forgiven.”

There were some religious leaders in the crowd, and they weren’t too happy to hear Jesus say that. They didn’t say anything, but they were thinking about how only God had the right to forgive sins, and if Jesus was saying this, that meant He was claiming to be God. They didn’t think Jesus could be God, because He was just a man!

But they didn’t know that Jesus could read their minds. They were sure surprised when Jesus turned to them and said, “Why are you thinking that? I could say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up, take your mat and walk.’ Which is easier?”

Imagine how speechless they must have been that Jesus read their minds! Then in case they didn’t get that, He went on, “But you need to know that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins.” He turned back to the guy on the mat and said to him, “Dude, get up! Take your mat and go home!”

The paralyzed man stood up! For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), he rolled up his own mat. The amazed crowd cleared a path for him and watched in stunned silence as he carried his mat and walked out of the house! In awe, people in the crowd said, “We’ve never seen anything like this in our lives!” Many people believed in Jesus’ message that day.

1 comment :

  1. Steven, I like the way you have paraphrased this healing incident. Truly, He is the Son of Man, The Son of God.