Jesus Heals the Paralytic
Prop: Copies or downloads of photo 1 and photo 2 below
Good morning, boys and girls! We have been talking the past couple of weeks about Jesus healing people. There is one more miracle story I want to share with you today, but first I need to explain a little about how houses were built in First Century Palestine, when Jesus lived there. For this story, we need to understand how the roofs were made.
The walls of houses were built of mud bricks. Then wooden supports were laid from one side of the building to the other, resting on the walls, creating beams. Woven reed mats or sticks were placed on top of the wooden support beams. Then, layers of clay mortar were smeared on top of the mats to make a solid surface. The roofs were flat, and people often did household chores or stored things on the roof. Here's a picture of a fairly large farmhouse of the time:
Now, on with the story. Jesus was in Capernaum. Word got out that he was staying in a house there. Lots of people stopped by to visit Jesus, to listen to what he had to say. They wanted to see the teacher/healer who was becoming pretty famous. Jesus taught the people gathered about God. The house, the yard and the street became very crowded.
A small group of people came to see Jesus. They had heard about the miracles Jesus had performed, healing people everyone thought could never be cured of their ailments. This group brought with them a friend who could not walk. He was paralyzed. Four of the paralyzed man's friends carried him on a stretcher, but when they got close to the house, it was obvious they were not going to be able to knock on the front door and walk in. It was too crowded! They couldn't get Jesus' attention by waving through the window, either--too many people. The paralyzed man was bitterly disappointed, as were his friends. They all felt Jesus was the only hope the man had of ever walking again. They all believed with all their might that if they could just get in to see Jesus, he could heal the man.
Then one of the friends had an idea--the roof! "Let's take our friend up on the roof, dig a hole, and lower him down to the room below where Jesus is teaching," he said. At first, the group wasn't sure this was such a great idea. It wasn't their roof, after all. But it didn't take long for them to realize this plan was their only hope of getting help for their friend. Enabling a person to walk again was much more important than a hole in the roof!
So that's what they did. They carried their paralyzed friend on his palette, or mat, up the outside steps to the flat roof of the house. They dug a hole in the outside layer of clay. They tore out the woven reed mats, and made a hole something like this:
The friends looked through the hole, down to the room below, and saw Jesus, the disciples and others looking back up at them! It was now or never! They had come too far to chicken out, so the friends lowered the paralyzed man down through the hole they made to where Jesus waited for him in the room below.
Jesus' reaction to all the commotion was interesting. He wasn't angry about the hole in his roof. He was not irritated that his teaching was rudely interrupted. He was amazed and impressed by the strong faith the man and his friends had, and so he said to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
Some of the people listening to Jesus thought he was out of line to tell the paralytic that his sins were forgiven. They said, "Who can forgive but God alone?" But Jesus told them his authority came from God--to forgive and to make whole. He said to the man, "Stand up, take your mat and go to your home." And that's exactly what the man did. He stood up. He picked up the mat he'd been lying on for so long, and he walked out in front of the whole crowd. Of course, they were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
Let's Pray. Kind and Loving God, we, too are amazed by the Power and Love of Jesus, which makes each of us healthy and whole. Help us to share his love with others. Amen.