Luke 5 is focused on establishing Jesus’ authority. Jesus can command a school of fish to go into a net. He can force a disease of leprosy to leave a man’s body. But Jesus can also do something not hitherto imagined. Here is the story.
Jesus is teaching and people are watching. Having heard of Jesus’ power to heal, some men bring a friend who is paralyzed. They can’t get in because the crowd is too packed. So, they head to the roof, remove some tiles, and drop their friend down into the gathering!
What would you think if you were an audience member? Is this proper? What will the homeowner say? Isn’t this disruptive to the spiritual food we are receiving? Jesus perceived the hearts of the men, the paralyzed man and his friends. He declares to the man, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Its ok to help someone catch fish and its pretty cool that you made leprosy go away but this? Understandably, some people were bothered by this comment. You would be too. They (Pharisees and scribes) now suspect him of foul play because nobody but God can forgive sins. Conflict, heavy conflict was in the air.
Jesus confronts them and says he will prove that he can forgive sins by healing the man. He will prove that he can forgive sins (something you can’t verify with human tools) by healing the man of his paralysis. He turns to the man and says, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk.” Enough said.
Responses? Awe. The people were filled with awe, which is another word for respect. They gave him space in their hearts but also maintained a safe distance from him, as Peter did when he said, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.”
This story is in the Bible to prove one thing: Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins. That said, let’s approach him as such and ask for absolution. This is much easier than seeking it by our own self-righteous acts.
This message comes from Luke 5:17-25. Want to listen? Here’s the online sermon archive.