||Imagine the scene: some friends have heard that Jesus is going around healing diseases and disabilities. However, the crowds around Jesus mean they can't get close enough to bring their paralysed friend to him.
But they're so determined to do whatever they can for their friend, who can do nothing for himself, that they get onto the roof and lower him down on his mat! Jesus can hardly miss that, so he turns to the paralysed man and, moved by the perseverance and faith of his friends, says to him, “Your sins are forgiven.”
|God's healing can break us
free physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
What?! Shock all round. Forgiveness is all very well, but the friends want to see their friend walk. And the pharisees and teachers of the Jewish law are horrified: who is this man who claims to have the authority to forgive sins? Only God can do that!
But Jesus points out that forgiving sins is harder then healing—you do have to be God to truly do it! And to prove that he is God, he turns to the paralysed man and says, “Take your mat and go home." Immediately the man stands up, takes what he'd been lying on, and goes home, praising God.
From this Bible account we can learn much about healing. Firstly, Jesus did a lot of it—and a lot of people witnessed it.
Secondly, we learn that by caring for one another, and bringing each others' concerns before God, we touch his heart. In the story, Jesus actions were triggered by the Jesus of the man's friends.
Most importantly, we see that Jesus made forgiveness his number-one priority; physical healing came second, and didn't even seem part of his original plan. God thinks it's more important to sort out our eternal future than to sort out our earthly difficulties. He understands and cares deeply about our problems, and will often heal us (even to this day), but his main concern is that we spend eternity with him—which requires us first to have our sins crossed out.
Fourthly, Jesus used his supernatural healing powers to demonstrate that he was who he said he was; the physical healing served a bigger purpose.
Finally, look at the response of the man who was healed. He is totally obedient to Jesus, even taking up his mat as instructed (you'd think he'd want no reminder of that mat!). And he immediately goes home praising God. What an incredible story he will have told! His friends and family, seeing his dramatic healing, will have had to confront their own relationship with God.
God still heals people today, through prayer and healing ministry, but not everyone who asks actually receives healing, or in the way or the timing they expect. We can't begin to understand God's reasons for that. What we can do is bear in mind his top priority, spiritual health, and pray for forgiveness. And when we pray, we should trust that what God is doing in our lives is what he knows we truly need, not what we think we need.
Pray: Lord God, do you still heal today? I want to believe this is possible, but I struggle to have enough faith. Please hear my prayers for healing, whether for myself or for others. Jesus healed people in the Bible, and you are still the same God—so I think I know that you care deeply, and want to heal. Please show me your healing power. Amen.
Look up the story of the paralysed man in the Bible
Watch an animation clip of Jesus healing a blind man
Read the online article Does God Heal Today?
Look up scriptures which deal with healing
Visit the healing section of the Ellel Ministries website
Watch the music video of Van Morrison singing Did Ye Get healed?
Read the book The Spirit Who Heals (with 46 stories of healing) by Peter H Lawrence
Read the book Power Healing by John Wimber and Kevin Springer
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