Reversing Paralysis, John 5:1-17

There was a large crowd around the house Jesus was staying in Capernaum. With no room left in or outside the house, four men dug through the roof and lowered a paralyzed man on a mat, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw how strongly they believed that He would help, Jesus said to the sick man “Son your sins are forgiven!” Some of the Jewish leaders thought this was blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins. Jesus let them know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, and said to the paralytic “I say to you stand up, take your mat and go home”. The man stood up took the mat and went out before all of them, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this”. Everyone could see the faith of the men who carried the sick man, but it was only Jesus that could see the sick man’s faith, John 2:25, so it was a perfect opportunity to teach.

The idea of relating the power of his healing with the power to forgive sins, was a deliberate attempt of Jesus to get the Pharisee’s attention onto their sinful behavior towards the law. They were using the law to justify themselves as being righteous in keeping the law. The analogy is obvious; when we try to use rules to make us right in God’s sight, we immediately enslave ourselves to law itself, because none of us can keep it perfectly, it always condemns/captivates us, like paralysis! Only God can make us righteous and free. In John 5:1-15, Jesus healed a totally disabled sick man in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, who was very likely paralyzed, to make the same point. If keeping the Sabbath made us acceptable, and breaking the Sabbath made us a reject. Then the only way Jesus could help them understand how powerful God was in accepting people, was to use the Sabbath himself by healing a paralyzed person, they all thought was a reject! Don’t misunderstand God, the law of Moses was holy, but it wasn’t made nor used in order to make people righteous. The law existed and worked to teach people what holiness was, and give Jews an acceptable way to worship God. It didn’t make THEM acceptable, it made their sacrifices and work acceptable. A real teaching tool, Galatians 3:22-25.

When the paralyzed man in Jerusalem beside the Bethesda pool, was healed by Jesus, he didn’t know who Jesus was, Jon. 5:13. It was not his faith that attracted Jesus, it was the fact that he only had a bed, and it was the Sabbath. Jesus knew he needed the man’s consent to be healed, because he would use him as ammunition against his critics. This was love, he was not out to humiliate him and get him kicked out of the synagogue or Temple, but to put him on a journey with that bed which would lead him into the Kingdom of Christ. When we walk with Christ, we should make sure we walk with a reminder of what he has cleansed us from, never forget what you were saved from, and never lose focus on what your saved for. Walk in newness of life, Romans 6:4. Walk by the rule that only a new creation counts for anything, Galatians 6:15-16. Walk in the good works God prepared for you, Ephesians 2:10. Walk in His love & light, Ephesians 5:2-8. Walk in wisdom, Colossians 4:5. DO NOT walk as enemies of the cross, Philippians 3:18, but walk with him as your best friend in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16-25.

The very fact that we can walk in Christ, is a miracle, considering the fact that spiritually we couldn’t walk at all. Sin paralyzes our ability to do what is right and even think right, it is a miracle he forgives us and enables us to walk again. Thank God for his indescribable gift, 2nd Corinthians 9:15. When we were baptized we became babes in Christ, needing to grow & learn how to walk, 1st Peter 2:2, 1st Corinthians 3:1.

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