20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

Luke 5:20 (NIV)

Jesus was teaching, power was present, the paralytic arrives on a mat carried by friends – this sets the scene. Not finding a way to get into the house because of the large crowds, the men carried their paralytic friend up on the roof (not an easy job) and lowered him down through the tiles into the middle of the crowd – directly in front of the Healer. Let’s just ponder this point for a bit. Scripture actually states: 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. Luke 5:18 (NIV)
They tried at first to go in the easy way – as we all do – yet were prevented. Persistently, they pursued His presence. Their persistence reminds me of the Scripture in Matthew where Jesus Himself states:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matt 11:11-12 (NIV)
“Lay hold of it” actually means to seize with force, snatch, and drag off as a spoil; to seize by swiftly and aggressively grasping. One meaning given by the Lexical Aids in the Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible on this verse is as follows: “This advance entails the powerful works performed by Jesus and His dramatic gospel announcing the arrival of the long-awaited Messianic reign and demanding repentance and faith from all. In keeping with the violent character of its irruption into history, those who enter it are distinguished by that same dead earnestness and lay hold of it as a highly-desired prize. Entrance into the kingdom is no small matter; it is a life and death issue and is possible only by desperate and radically serious persons who desire it at all costs.” Sometimes in seeking Christ and His healing, we simply just give up too easily. Scripture states their desire was to lay the paralytic at His feet. The word translated “lay” is the Greek word “Tithemi” meaning to set, place, and lay down. Figuratively, its meaning is to lay down one’s life, to lay to heart, resolve; to resolve in one’s mind. This reminds me of yet another verse from Scripture: 23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25 (NIV) Jesus is looking for a firm resolve to follow Him with whole hearted devotion and a willing mind from among those who claim faith in Him. Interestingly, their actions did show a firm resolve in their faith in Jesus’ ability to heal. That did not go unnoticed by the Master. Seeing faith demonstrated by actions, Jesus proclaims that his sins were forgiven. The word forgiven means to send away; release from obligation, remit; of a debt, offense; to remit the penalty of sin, pardon or forgive faults. The Lexical Aids in the Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible goes on to say: “Only God can remit sin; human forgiveness is just that – the dismissal of indebtedness against oneself, not indebtedness toward God. Spiritually, God’s healing occurs when faith is expressed through obedience.1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Heb 11:1 (NIV) Our actions prove we are sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

What I Glean

  • God desires for me to persistently pursue His presence.
  • God desires for me to desire Him above all.
  • God desires my faith to be demonstrated by my obedience.