There are Christmas stories we have heard dozens of times, but want to keep on hearing. We loved Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. While some people like George C. Scott’s portrayal of Scrooge, I always want to watch Allister Sim scare off the blind beggar. But it doesn’t matter who plays him, we all like seeing old Scrooge at Christmas time. It is the same way with some scenes from the Bible. We like imagining them over and over.
Jesus was teaching in a jam packed synagogue when four fellows came along with a paralyzed man on a mat. Not being able to get in, they lugged the man up onto the roof. Then, judging where Jesus stood teaching below them, they took a part of the roof apart, laying the tiles aside as they opened a fair sized hole.
Attaching cords to the four corners of the mat, they lowered it and the man lying on it; and they dangled him before the face of Jesus. Imagine, if you would, the amazed hubbub of the congregation. People were wondering if they would see a miraculous cure. The Scribes and Pharisees who followed Jesus to spy on him, would have been wondering that too.
Did Jesus cure the man? Not exactly. What he did was say, “Your sins are forgiven.”
That would have disappointed the guys hanging the mat from the cords. They were thinking, “To hell with the man’s sins! We did all this to get a cure.”
The Scribes and Pharisees were excitingly taking notes. Forgiving sins was something only God could do. In claiming to forgive the man’s sins Jesus was claiming he could act as God. So, they could get him for the sin of blasphemy. That was a dandy capitol offence in their religious court.
What might the paralyzed man thought of it? Don’t be too quick in assuming that he was disappointed. It might have been that he had been paralyzed long enough to have adjusted to it, even become comfortable with it. It might have been that his great agony was the thought that it was his sinful living that had brought on the affliction, depriving his children of the support he owed them.
Jesus read the man’s heart, giving the man the forgiveness that was like gold to him. He got rid of the man’s sins. As for his paralysis? He got rid of that too,