Summary: Looking at the healing of the paralysed man

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Faith in Community

Gladstone Baptist Church – 8/8/04

Desperate Times call for desperate Measures. Have you ever considered what you would do in a desperate situation?

What about if you were diagnosed with a life threatening disease where the only treatment available was in Europe at one expensive clinic. Would you mortgage the house, sell the second car and take out a personal loan to fund the treatment? Yes? Some are unsure? How much would you be prepared to spend - $500,000, $50,000, $5,000? What if there was no guarantee of success.

What about this one - You are on a 13 day hike through a remote canyon. I know for some of you that this is going to be very difficult to imagine. Some of us find it hard enough getting up and walking to turn off the TV, let alone a 13 mile hike. Anyway – you are on a 13 day hike and are squeezing past a boulder in a narrow canyon when it moves and pins your arm. No matter what you do, the rock won’t budge and has firmly locked your arm into place. For five days you lie trapped knowing that it is likely that you will die because no one is going to find you. You are in a desperate way – what are you prepared to do? Some of you may recognise this story. It’s a true story of Aron Ralston. After 6 days of being trapped and knowing that his hand was already dead from lack of blood and he would soon be joining it if he didn’t do something. Aron cut off his own arm and walked 5 miles till he found help. It was a desperate situation that required desperate measures. Would you have been up to doing this?

The story has a good news ending. Aron is back doing the things he loves. He has a special artificial arm for his mountain bike. One to hole his paddle for his white water canoe and one which he uses for rock climbing. It’s all turned out well for Aron, but there were no guarantees about that. What would you do if you were really desperate?

This morning I want us to turn to read an account of some people who were desperate for help and would not in their wildest dreams give up. You see, Desperate times call for desperate measures. Turn with me to Luke 5

17 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

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

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Setting the Scene

Before we look at what actually happened, I want to help you imagine the scene. Jesus had been baptised and begun his public ministry and had done some pretty amazing things. He’d driven out evil spirits, healed all manner of people and taught with such authority it was scary.

Vs 15 says about him … the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

Jesus was getting quite a name right through out Israel and people were coming from far and wide to hear him AND be healed from their sicknesses. But it was not just ordinary people like you and me that were pricking up their ears – even the religious leaders of the day were interested in finding out who this new teacher was. Vs 17 tells us that Pharisees and experts in the Jewish law had gathered from all over the country. From every town in Galilee, from the rest of Judea and even from Jerusalem. They had all gathered together to hear Jesus speak. But what is sad is that these men were not interested in LEARNING from Jesus. They were interested in TESTING Him. They regarded themselves as the protectors of the Jewish religion. They were the gatekeepers of truth if you like and their audience with Jesus was to determine if he was friend or foe, a herald or a heratic.

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David Martin

commented on Oct 9, 2006

great lesson! thanks!

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