Focal passage: Luke 5:17-26
Imagine you had a friend who had a disability from birth, unable to care for himself or enjoy the pleasantries of life. He’s depressed and lonely, maybe even suicidal. You hear that a healer has come to town, and people say that whatever he does actually works. What would you do?
Luke describes a similar situation in which people had come from all over to listen to Jesus and receive healing. “Just then,” Luke says, “some men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed” (v. 18). No doubt their hope was that Jesus would heal their friend.
Although they faced many obstacles, the men stopped at nothing until their friend was laying before Jesus. The possibility of healing was so motivating that they were willing to do anything, even tear off a roof. Because of their faith, Jesus performed a miracle, but not the one they had expected.
Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (v. 20). Jesus perceived that the paralyzed man had a greater need than his physical ailment. His sins, not simply his body, were in need of mending. Although He did cure his paralysis, the man’s spiritual sickness took precedence.
God’s forgiveness outpaces everything else in this world. Horace Bushnell, a 19th century American theologian, once said, “Forgiveness is man’s deepest need and highest achievement.” This isn’t to say that physical needs aren’t important. Rather, it’s to say: Nothing is more needed or desired than the forgiveness of sins.
This gospel is called “good news” for a reason. News isn’t something that just happens to us. News is shared. Like the paralytic’s friends, we must have an insatiable desire to see the gospel spread from door to door and nation to nation. No obstacle is too great, no person too unimportant.
The power of the gospel in our own lives should lead us to share it with others. When we truly understand forgiveness, our lives become that of a herald, not a hermit. We wage war with a megaphone in hand. This is the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and the calling of our lives.