Jesus Heals the Paralytic
Description: Paralysis today is a nearly incurable spinal injury that prevents the victim from moving and feeling. In the time of Jesus, it was entirely untreatable. This paralytic man had no hope of being restored, until one day when Jesus came to town. His friends carried him to Jesus and lowered him through the ceiling so that he could have a divine encounter. Jesus heals his injury, but also gives him something we all need, a healing in the soul.
Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh
Date: November 08, 2015
Speaker: Pastor Tim
Scripture: Luke 5:17-26
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Audio: Listen to this Sermon (time 44:34)
Notes: Read Sermon Notes
Transcript (new way)
1 “Jesus Heals the Paralytic” (Luke 5:17-26) PASTOR SCHMOYER: I’d ask you to open up your Bibles to Luke chapter 5. We’ll be reading verses 17 to 26. If you’re using a pew Bible, you can find that on page 861. Let’s turn in our Bibles there. Brother Clarence, would you read God’s word for us. CLARENCE REHRIG: “On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with Him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles in the midst before Jesus. “And when he saw their faith, he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’ “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sin but God alone?’ “When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, ‘Why do you question in your hearts? Which is 2 easier, to say your sins are forgiven you, or to say, rise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, He said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.’ “And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today.'” And may God bless the reading of his word. PASTOR SCHMOYER: We serve a powerful God. Amen? Do you believe that God has the same power in 2015 as He had in 30 A.D.? Does He have the same power? CONGREGANT: Yes. PASTOR SCHMOYER: All right. Our God is a compassionate God. When He sees need, He sends his people to meet that need. He began that work with Jesus. God, the Father, identified a paralyzed man. He sent His son to go address that need. Today our Father sees people in need. He sends his people to go meet that need. The need that this paralyzed man had was not primarily a paralysis of the body. For what is the first thing that Jesus addressed in this man’s life? 3 CONGREGANT: Sin. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Sin. He says, “Friend, your sin is forgiven.” And I could picture the paralyzed man: Thanks, but I’m paralyzed. That’s what I really came for. Okay? I kind of picture the paralyzed man thinking that. But Jesus identifies the true need. And maybe you came this morning and you’re carrying the weight of some problem in your life, and you just want Jesus to bail you out of this problem. God, would you help us to get out of debt as a family? God, would you help me and my wife love and care for each other more than we do right now? God, my son or my daughter’s chronic health condition or my husband or my wife’s or my chronic health condition. When we think of chronic situations in our church, our sister Christine, our sister Paula Mayer, you know, people with these chronic conditions. And sister Florence, we’ve been praying for you for so many weeks. It’s great to see you this morning. You know, Barb, we’ve been praying for you, and you’ve been here the past couple weeks now after 4 your health concerns. You know, God cares about our health concerns. He cares about our financial situations and our relationship problems. He cares about all of that. But the thing that God cares about most is your situation with Him, your status. People say, Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? And I want to say everyone in the world has a relationship with God. It’s just a relationship of enemy or relationship of friend; relationship of outcast through sin or a relationship of son or daughter through Jesus Christ and what He did for you. Jesus comes to this man and addresses the biggest need he has. Because 70 years, 80 if by strength, that’s all that we’ve got here in this world. You know, it’s a short life. Would you want to be paralyzed for 70 years and enter the kingdom of God? Or would you want to be walking, talking, laughing, skipping, and spend eternity in hell? You know, when we measure out the time of this short life, eternity is what matters most. Jesus includes this healing and Luke includes this story in his gospel for one reason: to show you and to show me how we’re physically fine but we’re spiritually paralyzed. The same healing that 5 brought this man up on his feet can bring your soul back up on its feet when you humbly receive Jesus’ forgiveness the way that this man did. Let’s view all the healings that way. We talk about blindness, and we certainly know “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost and now I’m found; I once was blind, but now I see.” We’re talking spiritually, not physically. We connect that to the spiritual. Why not connect all the healings to the spiritual? Today we’re going to talk about Jesus healing this man’s paralysis and Jesus healing us of our paralysis. How was my soul flat on its back? How was my soul unable to move apart from the grace of Jesus Christ? We’re going to try something new to see if it might work. If you have a smartphone, and throughout the week or even during the sermon today if you want to go on Facebook or Twitter and #WBFCLuke, people are going to think you’re not playing Candy Crush. You’re tweeting out how awesome God’s word is. Use that hashtag if you want. If it catches on, we’ll see what happens. I see Loretta getting her smartphone out already. In verses 17 to 19, let’s look at this. He’s 6 teaching. “On one of those days . . .” So this is just in the course of Jesus’ constant teaching ministry, and so as we carefully read the gospels we need to understand Jesus had moments of healing, but Jesus had seasons of teaching. So Jesus’ primary ministry is to teach people, and as episodes of a healing are required, He’ll certainly jump in and do that, but the primary ministry of Jesus is teaching. That should say to you and to me, let’s not necessarily look for the shock and the awe of a healing. Let’s sit at the Master’s feet like Mary. Instead of Martha busy always doing something, let’s just sit at the Master’s feet and hear from him and hear from Jesus as He’s teaching. So what do you think Jesus was teaching here at verse 17? On the one day Jesus was teaching, and the Pharisees were there and they were all there, what was he teaching? Well, if you go back to chapter 4, we know what he was talking about, right? Back in verse 18: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all those oppressed; to proclaim the 7 year of the Lord’s favor.” And so He’s proclaiming this deliverance, He’s proclaiming this good news, this awesome, wonderful news that you who were far from God can be embraced by the loving Creator, can be restored to God’s favor through believing in Jesus Christ. And certainly Jesus was saying, Follow me. Follow me and you’ll have life; follow me and you’ll have direction; follow me and you will enter the kingdom of God. So He was teaching. And as He was teaching, Pharisees — verse 17 of chapter 5 — Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. He’s teaching grace, He’s teaching faith; and they’re sitting there listening, but their profession is teaching law. And there is no more of a powder keg scenario than when a legalist hears a grace teacher teaching grace. Once there was a person of this church that left because all I was doing was teaching grace. Well, praise the Lord. I mean that’s what we do. That’s what the scriptures are all about, grace. Grace, grace that is greater than all of our sin. Do we believe that? Do we believe that God’s grace is greater than our sin, that His forgiveness is 8 powerful to release us? CONGREGANT: Yes. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Do we believe it? No. You’re released by doing what’s right. You’re released by keeping your nose clean. I joked about my kids eating candy and getting sick last week. Who’s the one sick now? My nose is not clean, either physically or spiritually. If we’re — if we get to heaven by keeping our nose clean, we’re in danger. Even the Pharisees, even the teachers of the law. Jesus taught in Matthew’s gospel: if you want to enter the kingdom of heaven, your righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. And so these guys were sitting there, presumably to learn, although I think they were really there to find a problem. And what do we see even in their first episode of having heard from Jesus? Halfway through the passage they’re questioning in their hearts, who does this man think he is? What authority does he have to forgive sin? Doesn’t he know he’s blaspheming? They’re constantly finding problems with this message of grace, and it is such today. 9 Interesting in verse 17 that “Pharisees and teachers of the law . . . who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem.” The word got out to the professionals that this new meddler is making trouble teaching something opposite, and they all want to come and hear what this man has to say to find fault. The text doesn’t say that, but later we see that that’s what they’re doing. The other thing I see that’s interesting is that the religious people, Pharisees, teachers of the law, they should have made room for the people that needed to hear Jesus most. They should have been welcoming to the friends of the paralytic. But no. They’re blocking the door, they’re blocking the things. And it makes me wonder, when someone is taking a stab at trying to find Jesus today, do we, Jesus’ followers, make way for them to find Jesus or do we block the door? What’s amazing today is so few people are ripping holes in the ceiling to get to Jesus. They see you blocking the door and they walk away. And I guess the challenge to us is, are we making room? Are we making this place and this space comfortable for people far from God to find the Lord Jesus Christ? 10 Or are we blocking their path through hurdles of ritual, hurdles of tradition, hurdles of you have to act and talk and dress and think the way we do? Are we making extra hurdles for people to jump over, or are we clearing the way so that people could find the Lord Jesus through the ministry of our church? So the first thing that we see is that this paralytic, he had trouble, right? He heard that Jesus was in town, and verse 18 says “Behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed.” We don’t know how they found out. Maybe the friends found out, heard that Jesus was in town. Maybe the paralyzed man heard all the people running to this certain house, and the paralyzed man called out for his friends: Yo, Bob; Yo, Jim, let’s go. Take me, help me, direct me to Jesus. Someone knew that this man was a healer. Someone knew that Jesus had performed previous miracles, and someone realized, let’s give this paralyzed man a chance. Whether it was the friends bringing the man to Jesus that initiated or the paralyzed man initiated, someone somehow got this man to the gate of Jesus. They were bringing the paralyzed man, “They were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 11 but finding no way — verse 19 — finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd.” And I guess I wonder us as a crowd, what are we doing? What are we subconsciously not even aware of that we’re doing that keeps people far from God from coming to find Jesus? But this man wanted to find Jesus, and so verse 19, they all get up on the roof, the man, the paralyzed man, they all get up on the roof, verse 19, and they let him down, they tear down the tiles. And I guess I’m wondering or I’m thinking in my head, whose house is this? And why is the owner of the house letting his roof be decimated? I just imagine the woman of the house, the wife yelling at the husband, Why are you letting them tear a hole in our roof? It makes me wonder, after the crowds all left did someone put the roof back together again? We don’t know. But the most important need was that man was put back together again. Amen? Today let it be so, that someone from God would experience the joy of forgiveness. So verse 19. So they went up on the roof, they let him down, and so in the midst before Jesus he is in his bed. The first thing that this paralyzed man 12 realizes is, there are no doctors, there is no hope of me being restored to walking, to talking, to laughing without this man, Jesus. Humbly realizing your condition. This man realized his physical condition, and the first thing anyone must do to begin a friendship with God is to humbly recognize your own spiritual condition. So let’s just quickly talk about paralysis. If someone is paralyzed, right, through spinal injury or through some disease of some kind, they don’t have the ability to move their arms, to move their legs. They can’t jump rope. Can you jump rope? Do you want to jump rope? They can’t sit up, they can’t use the restroom on their own. Right, today we have some sort of helps for all of this, but I don’t know what this man was doing for the restroom situation. What was he doing to eat, what was he doing to drink? If you’re paralyzed in that day, how were you drinking water? Because when you bring your cup to your mouth, your whole face is going to get wet. The man must have had a drinking problem as well. In drinking the water. Bad joke. He must have had a whole host of problems, a whole host of problems, all because he could not use 13 his body. He was trapped inside his own body. Go back to chapter 4 again, chapter 4 verse 18. Middle of verse 18: “God sent me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives.” This paralyzed man is a captive inside of his own body. “The recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all those oppressed.” Jesus through his healing is fulfilling the prophecy once again of Isaiah 61. And so this man recognized I am unable, I cannot do for myself. And I guess in a spiritual sense you and I when we come to God, we must be able to say that as well. Apart from God and his mercy, I cannot spiritually do the things necessary to earn a right relationship with God. Just picture this. The first time you show up in a religious gathering and the religious leader says this is how you earn God’s favor: Do the commands, keep the commands. And you’re sitting there and you’re thinking to yourself: Well, I’ve tried to keep the commands. Do you know in the Old Testament there was 613 commands? Imagine trying to keep them. There was recently a book written by a man, totally irreligious, but he picked up the Old Testament law and for a year tried to keep the Old 14 Testament law, and he writes about his experiences learning how to keep the Old Testament law. If you were made right with God by keeping the Old Testament law, number one, you can’t do it. Number two, even if today you started to try, what about all the times before that you failed? So even if you’re perfect the rest of your life, that still doesn’t excuse everything wrong you did beforehand, right? So all these people turning to works-based religions, how do they explain now I’m going to be perfect, but what about everything beforehand? God is not simply going to overlook every mistake I made before, every disobedience I had before, even if I try to be perfect in the future. This paralytic man had to humbly realize, I can’t in my own strength earn God’s favor. Jesus had to heal him, Jesus had to forgive him. And today it is the same. You are paralyzed; I am paralyzed. Before faith in Jesus Christ we were unable, we were disinterested. We could not and we did not want to come to God. Turn in your Bibles to I Corinthians chapter 2, just one short verse on this point that might help you think about that topic, just giving you some 15 good hope on all of this. I Corinthians 2 and verse 9. “It is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the heart of man imagined what God has prepared for those that love him.” So do you ever just pause and think how great is heaven going to be? Amen. How awesome heaven is going to be? And it says when we imagine, when we dream, when we think, when we picture in our mind, when we hear sermons on how awesome heaven is going to be, the end of the verse says we haven’t even imagined how wonderful God’s preparation is for us. But it goes on in verse 10. “These things God has revealed to us through His Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even to the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except for the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given to us by God. We impart, in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” How do we understand God and His ways? What did 16 we just read? How do we understand God and His ways according to this passage? The Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can pull out from God’s truth and give to your mind and my mind. Verse 14, and here’s the paralyzed man, here is you before you came to saving faith. Verse 14: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Do you understand what Paul is saying there? He is saying your spiritual condition is the physical condition of that paralyzed man in Luke chapter 5. He was unable to get up and go to Jesus for healing. He had to depend on his friends to carry him. He was unable to get there on his own. His physical condition kept him from finding God. You, me, all of humanity, verse 14 of I Corinthians 2, all of humanity does not accept the things of God. They are foolishness. And what does the verse go on to say? They cannot, they are not able. And so the first thing we need to do before finding Jesus Christ is humbly accepting my status. I cannot come to God on my own. I am not able. The 17 only thing that’s going to connect me with God is not if I climb up to Him but that He comes down to me. See, that’s what’s happened on Christmas Day. God came down to earth; He came down to teach us God’s ways. He came to direct us. And Jesus says in John 14, “I’m going, I’m going back to the Father, but if I leave, I’m going to send you a helper, a comforter.” He’s going to remind you of everything I said; He is going to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. God, the Father, sent His son down to earth, taught. The Son went back to heaven, and when the Son went back to heaven, the Son and the Father sent the Spirit, and now the Spirit is in you, in me; me, the paralyzed unable person. And by the power of God, the same power that transformed this paralyzed man into a walker, into a leaper, into a skipper, that same power that enabled that unabled man, that same power came into my heart, came into your heart the moment you believed and brought your unable soul to life, and now your soul can leap and now your soul can jump. I think of the lame man that Peter and John healed. They said, “We don’t have silver and gold, 18 sir, but what we do have we’ll give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk.” And how does the kids’ song go? He went walking and leaping and praising God, right? So why? Because when you’re rejuvenated, when God enables you, the unabled, you can now live a life of joy because He enabled you. But it all begins with recognizing your spiritual condition. Apart from the Spirit of God I can do nothing pleasing to God. Most people will never accept that. Most people will never become humble enough to say that. Most Christians won’t even say that. They’ll say I came to God and God forgave me, and I’m telling you no, son. God came to you and brought you to your senses. You were unable, you could not, you didn’t want to; and He brought your dead heart to life, He brought your paralyzed soul to functionality. And yes, we responded to God because His Spirit got ahold of us, and the power of God brought our paralyzed, unable soul back to life. Something I want you to do with this truth, something I want you to take home with you on realizing your spiritual condition. On your connection card, I’ll read it. “I will identify the pride, fears, sins, and personality traits that 19 paralyze my spiritual growth, and I will present those things to Jesus.” Even as a born-again Christian, even as someone that has had the Spirit of God bring you to life, you’ve been brought to life and you’re alive and you can move, but there are chambers of your heart, there are aspects of your personality that are still paralyzed. That you can serve the Lord and witness and you can serve the Lord with the kids and you can sing and rejoice, but when it comes to your pocketbook, you’ve not yet given that over to Him. When you were baptized you held your wallet up above the water, and God baptized all of you except your wallet or your sexuality, your intimacy issues, and you’ll let God address everything in your life but not that. Or your pride. I am able; I am the man, the woman. And like Nathan coming to you and saying: Yeah, you are. You are the prideful man, you are the prideful woman. What is keeping you paralyzed? What sin, what personality trait, what fears are holding you back? You, like the paralyzed man, need to come to Jesus and say: I’m spread out in the midst, I’m laying on 20 my bed. I can do nothing without you changing me. Jesus, will you change me? So we move to verse 20 through 23 and receiving Jesus’ forgiveness. We’ve already mentioned it, talked about it, but let’s expound on it. When this man is laid prostrate before Jesus, verse 20 says that Jesus saw the faith of the man and his friends. The scripture says He saw their faith. And I just want to encourage you just briefly, Christian, that you can be the friend of a paralyzed person. Not physically — well, you could be physically. You could be a friend of a spiritually paralyzed person, and you can grab them by the hand and you can lead them to Jesus, right? You can bring them to Jesus, and then Jesus and them have to have some conversation. But he had friends that brought him there, and Jesus saw the faith, yes, of the man but also of his friends. And Jesus can do a work in someone’s life merely because you, the person of faith, brought that person before Jesus, so keep on praying for your non-believing friends and family. “When he saw their faith, Jesus said — verse 20 — Man, your sins are forgiven you.” It was a common belief back then that if some 21 major problem happened in your life, it was because God was punishing you for something wrong you did. So if you catch a cold, it’s because you told a lie, right? If you get paralyzed, it’s because you were sexually unfaithful. If you were born blind, it was because your parents constantly fought while you were in the womb. And so some sin brought about some painful medical problem. Now, is that the case? Did Pastor Tim sin this week and that’s why I have a cold? No. It’s because I live among a family that all had a cold earlier this week. You know, I think of people in our church family that go through painful physical problems. It’s not because of sin; it’s because of sinfulness in the world, right? Adam and Eve, the fall: thorns and thistles, poison ivy, pain in childbirth, all of the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. I don’t think problems necessarily happen because an individual sinned; but everyone in the midst thought that this paralyzed man was certainly a sinner, and Jesus agrees. Jesus is not saying because you sinned you’re paralyzed; but He is saying before we address your physical condition, your spiritual condition is the major problem here. 22 And friends, in your life and my life, before we pray about our hangnails and before we pray about even our marriages or our kids, let’s pray about our own spiritual condition, our own character that needs to grow up. Jesus goes after this man and forgives him, and he humbly receives Jesus’ forgiveness. The problem in this passage isn’t with the paralysis of the man, it’s with the paralysis of Jesus’ opponents, the Sadducees and Pharisees. The story goes on in verse 21. “The scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'” Now, is it true only God can forgive sins? Is that true? Yeah. But what’s Jesus? He is God, so He can forgive sins. That’s the beauty of this whole thing. Now, Jesus doesn’t go down the theological angle with them. He merely presents the opposite, and He says, Listen, is it easier for me to say God bless you, son, your sins are forgiven? Or is it more difficult to say rise up and walk? Which is harder to pull off? CONGREGANT: Rise up and walk. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Well, it’s harder to prove to 23 the crowd that this paralyzed man can walk. That’s the harder thing to bring about in this circumstance. So this is how he addresses it. So what I’m getting at is that the Pharisees and the scribes are the paralytic people; and while the physically paralyzed man humbly receives forgiveness, the Pharisees and the scribes, because they think that they’re good on their own, because they think that they’ve earned God’s favor, they don’t need forgiveness because they’re perfect. Well, we all know that they’re not perfect. We’re not perfect, no one is perfect. If you keep on pretending to be perfect like the Pharisees, you’ll never get around to being humble enough to receive forgiveness. It’s a humiliating act to say: God, I was wrong, and God, you were right all along. Isn’t that a humiliating act? It’s painful to admit: God, I was wrong my whole life. I squandered everything that you did for me, I blew it royally. That’s a humiliating thing, and that’s why so few people, like the Pharisees, like the scribes, so few people come to saving faith. And we’re asking people to humble themselves, we’re asking people to humiliate themselves coming to Jesus. It requires them to say: God, I can’t, 24 but God, I believe you can. And that is a hard sell, and that’s why so few people come to him. And the thing that I want you to be thinking about this week, how I want you to live out what we see in the paralytic man and how I want you to not be like the Pharisees and the scribes, I want you as you grow to not pretend that you’re really something when we’re all just nothings that God has restored, redeemed, and reused. We were on the trash pile headed towards the incinerator, and Jesus pulled us out of the junk pile, dusted us off, and said I can find a use for this, right? I can reuse this. Today the whole — the whole world is all about repurposing. You hear about that, repurposing? We love to repurpose things. Our bedframe is actually a door that we turned into a bedframe. It looks pretty cool. It’s repurposed. It was on the junk pile, and we repurposed it. Friends, we were on the junk pile because of our sin, because we had ruined our own life, and we ruined and spoiled the lives around us, and we were on the incinerator pile to be destroyed. God plucks us up and says, I’ve got something useful for this, and He rejuvenates and restores us. And so the danger is as we grow we become more 25 like the Pharisees and less like the Lord. That’s the danger of Christianity. The danger is the more I grow and the more I know, the more I think I’m something, and really it’s that God is someone that has repurposed and reused me. So here’s what I want you to take away from point No. 2. No matter how much you grow, no matter how much you know, no matter how much you learn of the scriptures, no matter how useful you become in your own personal ministries, I want you to make a pledge: I will never forget that I am in constant need of God’s forgiveness, that I am only anything because of His grace and not because of my own efforts. See, pride ruins your life. The scriptures say over and over again pride goes before a fall. The scripture says over and over again that God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to whom? The humble. It’s why our scripture points are all humble, humble, humble. Let’s get into the last part of it, verse 24 through 26. “That you might know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he’s looking at the Pharisees saying, I want you to know I’ve got the authority to forgive sins. I 26 wasn’t just saying it; I was accomplishing it. This man’s sins are forgiven. And so they might know that. Friends, in the 21st Century you need to know that it’s not just cheap talk. He really did pull it off. You are cleansed, you are washed, you are made whole again. You, the broken one, restored, repurposed, refurbished and sent to heaven. You are going there because your Savior has authority. And He’s saying this to the religious leaders who think He is a blasphemer. They’re Johnny one, and all they can say is He’s a blasphemer. You read through the rest of the gospels, and that’s all they say. Why was he crucified? Because he was the King of the Jews. And what do the Pharisees want and what does Pilate want to change the sign to say? Don’t let it say he’s the King of the Jews; let it say he said he was the King of the Jews. His crime was blasphemy. He was punished for blasphemy, and here they’re beginning their antagonism. This man is a blasphemer. Jesus says, You need to know I have authority, and so He turns to the man who was paralyzed. “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, go home.” And 27 immediately he rose up, immediately. And friends, what I want you to hear from this in a spiritual sense, immediately, the moment you pray to receive Christ into your life, immediately you rose up, your paralyzed soul was now moving, shaking, leaping, rejoicing. Immediately. It didn’t take time to make the turn. Jesus wasn’t holding his breath till you turned out okay. Immediately, the moment you believed He rendered you guiltless so that you might know He has authority on earth to forgive sins. Immediately. And immediately he went home, glorifying God, the end of 25. The end result of God radically transforming us, the humble, is rejoicing. Rejoicing. That when God changes a life, there ought to be rejoicing. I’m going to put a hypothetical out there for you. Let’s say there was a paralyzed person here this morning, and their friends wheeled them up and we all together prayed for them. The elders anointed, we all together prayed in faith. Let’s say that person got up out of their bed and they started walking around. What a joyful thing. They’d be glorifying God, we’d be celebrating over answered prayer. And then some sinner, some person 28 far from God, came forward and bowed at the altar, prayed to receive Jesus into their heart. Which would you celebrate more? Which would you? Wow. It says in verse 26 that “amazement seized them all.” Which of those two miracles would you be more amazed by? Which one was harder to pull off? Jesus has the ability to raise a paralyzed person. Amen? Is that true? Does that still work? He could. We see on the mission field all the time, hear stories all the time of in an evangelistic gathering they bring someone who’s lame and their hand is all shriveled up. And I heard about this at SnowGlow. Their hand was all shrunken up, they laid hands on them and prayed for them. It wasn’t I command that you be healed but God, we humbly ask you to restore this person; and as they were praying the lame hand was blowing up to the regular size. And that is today. That wasn’t 2,000 years ago. God still has the ability. But which was harder, which cost more? The healing of the paralytic or the saving of the sinner? How much did it cost our Savior to save a sinner? Someone comes forward, trusts in Christ. How much did that cost the person who came? 29 Nothing. Just their own pride. What did it cost our Savior? CONGREGANT: Everything. PASTOR TIM: Class? CONGREGANT: His life. PASTOR TIM: His life. It cost our Lord His life. And I guess I want to say when a sinner comes and receives the Lord as his Savior, a person puts their trust in Jesus Christ, that is a greater miracle. For a paralyzed person in need, to rise up is wonderful. But for a sinner to — for their pride to be broken, their hard heart to be broken, for God to rip out that heart of stone and for God to put in a heart of flesh, that is a painful surgery. We heard this week — we’ve been praying for one man who needed a heart transplant, and just this past week the doctors gave him that heart transplant. Imagine the intricacy of that whole procedure. I can’t even wrap my head around it. But for God to take out a soul that was stained, sinful, wash it in the blood, bring it back to life and put it back in the chest cavity, your soul paralyzed is now able to move, shake, live, that is glory, that is a wonder. 30 Take-home value. What I want you to do with this rejoicing aspect: “I will joyfully witness to someone of what God has done in my life.” Has Jesus done something in your life? We started the service, right, and we talked about the great things God has done for us, we started out the service that way. What has God done for you? Share that with someone who doesn’t know the Lord. Share it, take your joy and spread it to people that need it. That’s what the paralytic did, and that’s what we need to be doing also. Let’s pray. God, we thank you for your word, for its truth and its power. We claim it this morning, and we claim your forgiveness. You do have the authority on earth to forgive sins, and that still works today. We praise you for it. We ask you, Holy Father, that you would do that work in us anew; that you would restore us to that place of our childlike faith when we can call back to mind a moment when we put our trust in you. What joy, what celebration; what relief, what release. God, let us go in that joy to those who need joy, to those broken, to those hungry, to those poor in spirit, and let us share in your good news we ask. Lord, if there is perhaps a man, a woman, a young 31 person here in your house this morning who has never yet responded to your good news, your offer of forgiveness, they like the paralytic man being lowered into your presence and you standing and saying to them: Son, your sins are forgiven. Friend, if you want Jesus to do that merciful act in your life this morning, He still has the power and He’s still glad to do it. Would you in the quietness of this time pray with me in the stillness of your heart? God hears our heart, he hears our lips. Would you just pray with me? Jesus, I need your cleansing power; I need to be forgiven. I see that my spiritual state is as serious as this man’s physical state was. Please forgive me the way you forgave him. I believe you went to the cross and died in my place for my sin. I believe that you were buried in the tomb, and I believe that after three days of being dead you rose again from death, and you have the power to give me life as well. I pray that you will give me the gift of life forever with you. Friend, if you prayed a prayer like that, welcome to God’s family. He accepts you the way he accepted this paralytic man. Welcome to the family of God. I’m part of it, my friends here are part of it, and 32 now you’re a part of it, too. God, I praise you for what you can do and what you have done. Would you continue doing a work in all of our lives. We pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.