Summary: Ever wonder what it would be like to have a one on one meeting with Jesus. Meet the "man on a mat" who did just that.
Man on a Mat
Series: One on One with the Master
February 7, 2010
Recently, I read a very sad statistic: a quarter of a million Americans are physically paralyzed – (i.e. spinal cord conditions and others ways). And over 10,000 Americans a year are additionally paralyzed in some way (mostly through accidents). I was watching a Superman movie a couple of weeks ago and it’s hard to believe that the actor who played the part of ‘Superman’, (Christopher Reeves) was one of those statistics. Superman a paraplegic? It doesn’t sound right! As I read about being paralyzed I started thinking… “I wonder how many Americans are ‘emotionally & spiritually’ paralyzed?” It may not be as obvious as physical paralyzation, but it can be just as, (or more) devastating and disabilitating. There are a lot of different paralyzing emotions in life. You can be paralyzed by fear, worry, guilt. You could be paralyzed by grief, loneliness, resentment. Many people are paralyzed by indecision. You can be paralyzed by all kinds of things! And when it happens you feel helpless to free yourself and walk forward in life.
There are 3 emotions in particular that paralyze our potential, and keep us from becoming all that God wants us to be:
1) Our fears about the future;
2) Our regrets about the past;
3) Our doubts about our ability.
Today we’re going to look at how Jesus Christ helps you resolve all 3 of those issues. In Luke 5 we come across a man who was radically changed by Jesus, and the principles we discover from his life (I think) will help you understand how God changes you & me. READ LUKE 5:17-26. This story is so important it’s recorded by three different writers – (Matthew, Mark and Luke) – so obviously it’s got some lessons to teach us. The man we’re going to look at today was physically paralyzed. Yet the 3 things that Jesus said to this man are the same 3 things He says to you & me when we come to him honestly and say, “Jesus, I want You… I NEED you to change me. You’re the healer… and I want what you’ve got!” Maybe you’ve felt a little frustrated about your inability to change things in your personality. You’ve said, “I wish I could, but I just can’t change that about myself!” I can’t get over that hurt! I can’t forgive what that person did to me. I can’t stop worrying…or feeling so guilty about my sin!” If you’re feeling emotionally crippled in some area of your life, then you need to hear the same 3 things Jesus said to this man, because they have the power to cure your paralysis.
If you’ll humble yourself enough to ask Jesus to change you this morning, He’ll do 3 things… 1st…
1. He will EASE my fears.
The Bible tells us in Luke 5:17… “One day Jesus was teaching in a home and they had come from every village and even as far away as Jerusalem to be there.” Jesus is inside a typical Mediterranean style house with a tiled roof and on this day it’s stuffed like a can of sardines with people from all over town to hear Him teach and heal people. Then the bible says, “Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic man on a stretcher and they looked for a way to get into the house to set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof.”
You could tell Jesus was in town by the throngs of people who collected wherever he was. This time he’s inside a house, when along come some guys carrying their friend on a mat for Jesus to heal. The problem is, they can’t get close enough to Him because of the crowds. How frustrating is that? They’re desperate, but they don’t panic. They walk up the outside stairs to the 2nd floor, climb up onto the roof and start removing tiles! Now you gotta admit, these guys are pretty innovative & resourceful. They refused to give up! Jesus is teaching, when all the sudden He hears some noise above His head. He looks up and sees masonry crumbling and dropping from ceiling. Moments later tiles are being removed and there’s a gaping hole in the roof right where He’s standing. Four men poke their heads through the hole and look around. They spot Jesus, (& without even asking permission), they start lowering a man down on a stretcher. Now I’ve had some pretty novel interruptions while I’ve been preaching before, (people falling, going to bathroom, etc., Nursing home example…Lady: “Shut up!”) but this one takes the cake!
Whether he wanted it or not, the owner of this house just got a new skylight in his home! After the initial shock, he was probably pretty upset, but I’m convinced that Jesus was impressed! In fact in all 3 gospels say that…”Jesus saw their faith”. Now put yourself in the place of the paralytic, if you’d just crashed the party and were lowered down into the middle of a crowed room, how would you feel? I can tell you how I’d feel… embarrassed! I’d feel a little fearful, a little anxious, wondering what Jesus’ reaction would be.