“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”
These men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. Jesus did just that but not in the manner that was expected. Upon seeing their faith, He said “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Jesus went beyond the man’s physical body and touched his very soul. He gave him spiritual healing. This is key. So many believers read this passage and marvel over the fact that Jesus physically healed the paralytic. “He made the lame man walk” they happily sing and thus miss the entire point. Jesus did not give the man what he asked for but gave him what he needed. He gave him spiritual legs to walk upon. Yes, Jesus did also heal the man’s physical body but this healing was not primary and was done in response to the evil in the hearts of the Pharasees. “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Did you catch that? The man’s physical healing had nothing to do with physical healing in and of itself but was done so that the Pharasees would know that Jesus had the authority to forgive the man of his sins…to spiritually heal him so to speak.
The paralytic did not truly need his legs to survive this life but to thrive in the next he needed Jesus’ forgiveness. Yes his physical body was healed but as the phrase goes “you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19b)”
How often do we come to our Lord seeking physical healing or change in our earthly circumstances when what we truly need is spiritual healing, spiritual life? We need to be careful that we do not raise high what Jesus does not. Yes there is value in physical healing but it should not be our highest or main focus and pursuit.
1 Timoty 4:7-10
“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Is our hope set on God? Are we primarily pursuing things of spiritual or physical value? A good way to answer these questions is to take an honest look at how we spend our time, treasure, and talents. Do we spend most of our time seeking entertainment and happiness? Are we greedy with our money? Do we spend with God’s kingdom in mind or with our own? Do we use our strengths for his glory and to build others up or do we use them to build ourselves up, for our own glory? These are hard questions. Questions that leave me convicted.