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Reflective Bible Study.
Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com...Year in Luke – Episode 10: When four men carry their crippled friend to Jesus, discover how Jesus turns this potential miracle into a challenging and eye-opening teaching moment. Discover how this event and miracle are amazingly relevant for our lives today! Read the transcript: As we continue moving through Luke’s gospel, we come to an event, specifically a miracle, where it appears as though Jesus uses this event to prove a point. However, this event does more than simply prove a point that most Christians currently believe today. In this event, we discover just how powerful faith in Jesus is and we discover something amazing about who Jesus was. Our event and passage for this episode is found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 5, and we will read it using the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Starting in verse 17, Luke tells us that: 17 One day some Pharisees and experts in the Law of Moses sat listening to Jesus teach. They had come from every village in Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. God had given Jesus the power to heal the sick, 18 and some people came carrying a crippled man on a mat. They tried to take him inside the house and put him in front of Jesus. 19 But because of the crowd, they could not get him to Jesus. So they went up on the roof, where they removed some tiles and let the mat down in the middle of the room. 20 When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The Pharisees and the experts began arguing, “Jesus must think he is God! Only God can forgive sins.” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and he said, “Why are you thinking that? 23 Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? 24 But now you will see that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” Jesus then said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk home.” 25 At once the man stood up in front of everyone. He picked up his mat and went home, giving thanks to God. 26 Everyone was amazed and praised God. What they saw surprised them, and they said, “We have seen a great miracle today!” In this event, three big ideas jump off the page at me. First, it is amazing in my mind how Luke describes Jesus meeting this crippled man. Verse 20 describes this moment for us by saying, “When Jesus saw how much faith they [referring to this man’s friends] had, he said to the crippled man…” While we are quick to jump to the message Jesus shared with the crippled man regarding this man’s forgiveness, it is very easy to skip over the detail that Luke alludes to. This man didn’t have significant faith in Jesus. Instead, this man’s friends had the unstoppable faith that, one way or another, they would get their friend in front of Jesus. This is significant for us to pay attention to because it tells us that our faith can impact the lives of unbelievers around us. This man’s friends, while they were not receiving much of any personal benefit from carrying their crippled friend to Jesus, made a huge impact on the crippled man’s life. This miracle happened entirely because this man’s friends had faith in Jesus! Second, when we look at Jesus’ message, the reaction of the religious leaders, and then at the miracle that happened, we are left to conclude something powerful. If Jesus had spoken outside of God’s will, God would not have allowed the man to be healed. Because of this, Jesus’ teaching was validated by God regardless of whether the religious leaders believed Jesus had the power or authority that He claimed to have. This detail is significant for us to pay attention to because sometimes God will validate a message He sends with a miracle. However, don’t expect this to be God’s default method. In the gospels, this might be the only time Jesus uses a miracle to prove a spiritual point. In every other case I can think of right now, the miracles were given to help people and to cause people to pay attention. Once people were paying attention, Jesus then teaches a message that stood on its own. Regardless of whether you believe Jesus’ message here, I don’t believe God would have let this man be healed if this teaching negatively impacted the impression those present had of God. The third big idea I see in this passage comes in what Jesus’ key idea is. While Jesus does ultimately claim the right to forgive sins, this is not the key piece of His message. The key part of Jesus’ message is that this man’s sins were forgiven. Luke writes Jesus’ words in verse 20, saying, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” Looking at the details of what is said and what isn’t said here, Jesus does not say, “My friend, I forgive your sins” even though Jesus potentially could have said this. While the way the Pharisees and religious leaders respond seems to appear that they heard Jesus directly forgiving sins, Jesus’ message to this crippled man was one that assured him that his sins were forgiven. From the earlier details that Luke includes, Jesus saw faith in the actions of this man’s friends. Luke does not indicate this crippled man had any faith. From the context of the message of forgiveness Jesus shared with this man, part of me wonders and could logically conclude this man believed God was punishing him for some sin in his past, and because of this sin, there was no hope that God loved him enough to heal him. The man’s friends had faith in Jesus’ healing ability, but this man doubted that God even wanted him to be healed. If God was punishing this man for a sin in his past, there would have been no way for Jesus to heal him against God’s will! Jesus’ message to this man was not, “I forgive your sins”; Jesus’ message to this man was that his sins were forgiven. God was not holding a grudge against this man and punishing him by keeping him crippled. Instead, God loved this man enough that He led four friends to carry this man to Jesus, and to not be discouraged or give up when a crowd was not interested in letting them through. Jesus ultimately does challenge those present regarding His authority to forgive sins, but the bigger message here is that Jesus came to assure us that our sins have already been forgiven and that God is not angry with us. God loves us and that is the entire reason why Jesus came to this world! God loves you and me and Jesus came to help us understand just how much God loves humanity! As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with: As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life and choose to accept that He has forgiven you of your sins. Accept this truth through what Jesus came to this world to accomplish. Choose to place your faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus and His sacrifice for you and me on our behalf. Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn and grow closer to God. Through prayer and Bible study, discover just how much God loves you and I and discover what He was willing to give to redeem us from being trapped in sin. Don’t let your relationship with God be based on the opinions of others. Study out God’s truth for yourself from the Bible to discover what God wants you to learn from His Word. And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or doubt yourself out of where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him! Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on ReflectiveBibleStudy.com...Read this article on the web on it's official page: Being Forgiven: Luke 5:17-26