Jesus heals a paralyzed man

This story shows the first signs of organized Jewish opposition to Jesus. A group of religious leaders from Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee came, with evil motives, to find out for themselves what Jesus was doing and saying (Luke 5:17).

Some friends of a paralyzed man were so sure Jesus could heal him that they allowed no obstacle to stop them from bringing the man to him. In his response Jesus did more than heal the man. He went to the root of all suffering in a fallen world, sin, and on the basis of the faith that had been displayed, he announced forgiveness of the man’s sins. The Jewish leaders saw that Jesus was claiming to be God, for only God can forgive sins. Either Jesus was God or he was a blasphemer (Luke 5:18-21).

Jesus left his critics in no doubt of the meaning of his words and actions. A person can just as easily say ‘You are forgiven’ as say ‘You are healed’, but whereas the first statement cannot be proved by external evidence, the second statement can. If, therefore, Jesus’ claim to heal the man’s disease could be proved true, his claim to forgive the man’s sins must also be accepted as true. When the man, in response to Jesus’ words, stood up and walked, the onlookers had clear proof that Jesus was all that he claimed to be (Luke 5:22-26).

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