Welcome to “Java For Life.” I am your online barista. Allow me to fix you a devotional drink about the Christian life. Today’s cup is an Almond Latte about getting right with God. And the focus is the story of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof and healed by Jesus.
This is one of the more sensational stories of healing by Jesus, sensational enough that it appears in Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5. Read Mark 2:1-5.
Now, it’s highly possible that you already heard the story, especially if you went to Sunday school. And why not! It is a Hollywood like story with all the drama of breaking open a roof top and lowering a paralyzed man through it.
But, there is something even more dramatic and powerful than all the circumstantial things that receive so much attention. Sure, most people focus on the movie-like details of being lowered through a roof and dramatically healed. But, the real power of the story is not in any of those things.
In fact, the most important and essential part of the story is actually found in the request of the paralytic. You probably assume that the paralytic wanted to be physically healed. And you probably assume that his friends who lowered him also had that agenda. But, that is not what was most important to him. And that is not what he initially requested.
But to speak of his request is to add further drama, because this paralyzed man is unable to speak because he is mute. But Jesus is able to read hearts, and so the savior is able to see what is most important to this man. And by discerning the request in his heart, Jesus responds by granting forgiveness to him.
What drama to think that a paralyzed man is most concerned about his spiritual relationship with God and desiring to be reconciled with God! Of course, he wanted to speak and walk, but he wanted most of all to be forgiven!
I must confess that when I was young and in Sunday school, I heard the story as a miracle of physical healing. Jesus is presented as a miracle worker who responds to the man’s desire to walk again. But now I see that the real focus of the story is the real desire of this man’s heart, his peace with God.
And so, the title of this java devotion captures the true meaning of this story by calling it “The Forgiveness of the Paralytic” and not the physical healing of the paralytic.
If you’re meeting in a group, you can pause now to discuss the theological application for your life. Go around and share what you want most from God. What do you ask of Him? What do you want? Be honest. Then RANK where forgiveness and being right with God is on your list of requests from God. Discuss the importance of being right with God. Then go around and share a spiritual prayer request about your relationship with God.
Have you noticed how most prayer requests are about our physical needs? Prayer meetings are inundated by requests for healing from pain or mobility issues or surgery situation. Rarely are prayers requested for spiritual things. This must change. In fact, consider today how the content of your own prayers might need to be changed.
That’s it for today. Until next time, may God grant you forgiveness and a right relationship and also give you a greater purpose for your life.