The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Rick Blyth. He is married to Henrietta and is the Head of Policy at Royal Town Planning Institute.

Luke 5:12-26

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."

13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralysed Man

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralysed man 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 I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So he said to the paralysed 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."


Reflection

The passage with the roof break in has been lodged in my mind as an example of how determined the friends of the paralysed man to see him get healed. But Jesus offers a corrective - it's not how determined they were but how much faith they had. Maybe you have all along had the right view of this passage ! So I suppose they might have remained outside the house and sought Jesus' power there.  (This happened once in another parable where Jesus easily heals someone from afar.)

We can tell this is kind of slant to put on it because in the previous story (v 12-15) which provides context , it is clear the man with leprosy was convinced that Jesus had the power  to heal, but it wasn't convinced about the inclination. So returning to the roof story, maybe the friends' concern was not around the power of Jesus to heal, which works anywhere, but around his preparedness to do so.

Things today can become switched round. We tend to be more convinced of Jesus' being on our side and wanting us to be healed, and maybe rather less of his ability to do so. This is the consequence of a hundred years of weakening Christian thinking especially around the supernatural.  Thankfully in St Mary's we have many examples of Jesus's supernatural power and we are learning that the more we expect it to be displayed the more it is.

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