Continuing on with our Bible Lesson this week, today I am studying the second part of this healing. Jesus had been teaching at Peter's house to a capacity crowd when four men arrived bearing their palsied friend on a stretcher. Unable to get into the courtyard because of the people they climbed the outside stairs to the roof and lowered him down. Jesus, appreciating their faith, addresses the man as son and tells him that his sins are forgiven. The account continues in section four.
Following the pattern of this lesson we see Jesus tend to the one needing healing and then address those around him who are there to challenge his Messiahship. Here again the scribes are present and it sounds like they are sitting in the front row. When they hear Jesus tell the man his sins are forgiven they are ready to accuse him of blasphemy as only God can forgive sins. Jesus was always aware of the thoughts of those around him. We have had similar experiences when you can just tell what someone else is thinking, and it is usually not positive. So he asks them a question in return. Do they think it is easier to say sins are forgiven....or to tell the man to rise and walk? Just to show that the Son of man has this power on earth he is going to do just that. He turns to the sick man, who had already been told his sins were forgiven, but apparently did not equate that with freedom from his physical problem. He is to arise, take up his cot, and go to his house. And the man, who moments before had been unable to move, stands up, picks up the cot and goes out.
Notice all three things. First, he arises. That would have been impressive physically but it is even more impressive on a metaphysical level. When we feel under pressure or depressed how easily do we just shake that off and rise up healed when we have called for support from a Christian Science practitioner? This man did not get this healing on his own, he needed that kind of assurance and support. Sometimes we do as well. He believes what Jesus has told him, he has been forgiven and all the effects will disappear. Remember to rise up!
Next he takes up that cot. No one will need to carry him around now. That symbol of his disability no longer has control of him, he is not trapped on it nor does anyone have to see him any longer in that condition. He is able to carry what he had been carried in on. Can you just imagine the joy and rejoicing his friends must have felt! Can you imagine what the scribes must have felt? Once again Jesus deals with the atmosphere and thought around this healing. The healing is complete and no one can put this man back on that cot.
Finally, he goes forth. Yesterday I wondered if his former actions that resulted in this condition had caused his family to cast him out. Now he can return home, forgiven and restored. Is there any doubt that he will not return to those bad behaviors or habits? He has caught of glimpse of his true home in the kingdom of heaven with his Father Mother God.
The account says that all were amazed and glorified God. Gratitude and acknowledgement of God's wonderful love and protection should be present at every healing. They had never seen anything like this before. Sometimes this is true in our own experience where those around us have never seen this type of spiritual healing, this total reliance on prayer. Put the praise where it belongs, on God. As the Psalmist says: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy disease; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies."
Arise. Go forth. Go home to God.