Friday, July 25, 2008

Bringing People to Jesus

One of my favorite stories about Jesus is found in Luke 5:17-26. You know the story. Jesus was teaching one day, and people gathered around him, bringing to Jesus their sick and crippled friends and relatives, so that they could be healed. The place where Jesus was teaching became so crowded that there was no room left in the house. Jesus healed many people and the news that he was there spread quickly around town, and soon a group of friends brought one of their own, a man who was paralyzed. The problem was that because the were late they could not get near Jesus. So what did the do? They climbed onto the roof, removed some of the tiles there, creating a hole, and then four of them lowered their friend down in front of Jesus. And because of the faith of this man’s friends, Jesus forgave his sins and healed him, allowing this former paralytic to get up and walk.

This is an amazing story about Jesus the healer, because we see the two different ways Jesus heals. When we speak about Jesus the Healer we tend to focus on the physical healing that he did: giving speech to the speechless, sight to the blind, healing leprosy, raising the dead to life, and many more. Jesus’ healing went much deeper than that, Jesus has the ability to heal our souls, and that is the first thing he does here, he forgives this man of his sins. When a person’s sins are forgiven, then and only then can he start on the road to recovery and building a strong lasting relationship with God.

The reason this man was healed was because the faith of his friends. The man was powerless to get to Jesus on his own, but his friends, even though there were obstacles, made sure he had an encounter with Jesus.

We all have friends and family who are paralyzed because of the sin in their lives. They are powerless to do anything about it, they are powerless to see Jesus. If these people, whom we claim we love, are going to experience the healing Jesus offers, it is going to take us to show them Jesus. That means we love them, we listen to them, share the gospel with them, and we pray for them.

The paralytic in the Bible would never have known the healing touch of Jesus if his friends hadn’t taken the initiative. Our friends and family living without Jesus will never know the healing Jesus has to offer unless Christians, people like us, take the initiative, and show them Jesus.

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