(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
It is an amazing incident that happened early in Jesus’ ministry! Here are some highlights from Mark 2:3 through 5, and 10 through 12:
Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,...I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
This man was totally paralyzed! He was bed-ridden – or should we say, “cot-ridden” or “blanket-ridden” considering the time and society in which this man existed.
- There were no social services to help the handicapped in Jesus’ day.
- If a common person could not earn a living by regular work, he or she would have to beg!
- If that one had a compassionate family, he or she might have a place to dwell out of the sun, rain, heat, and cold! Otherwise, those who could not be pro-ductive in society were outcasts. Job describes such men in Job 30:2 through 7:
Their vigor has perished. They are gaunt from want and famine, fleeing late to the wilderness, desolate and waste, who pluck mallow by the bushes, and broom tree roots for their food. They were driven out from among men, they shouted at them as at a thief. They had to live in the clefts of the valleys, in caves of the earth and the rocks. Among the bushes they brayed, under the nettles they nestled.
But this man had something priceless going for him! He had four caring friends, who cared enough to get him to Jesus at all costs! That’s where the eight legs come in. His legs had no function! But the legs of the four friends who carried him worked just fine!
Why was he paralyzed? We don’t know. I searched the internet for ‘the causes of paralysis’ and found on one site 63 different causes of the affliction! And the author said he did not cover the subject in its entirety.
Even early in His ministry, Jesus was popular with the common folk especially! For miracles were already being manifest through Him, and His reputation was expanding rapidly!
- In Mark 1:21 through 28, as He taught in the Capernaum synagogue, a demon possessed man confronted Him…
✞ Verse 24 – “...saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!’” ✞ Verse 25 – “But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’” ✞ Verse 26 – “And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.”
- In Mark 1:29 through 31, Jesus completely healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a debilitating fever. “So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.” (Mark 1:31).
- Mark 1:32 through 34 records more miracles: “And the whole city…brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed….Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons….”
- The last six verses of Mark 1 record the healing of a leper. Jesus touched this untouchable man, and the leprosy vanished! And though the Lord had told him to tell no one, “…he went out and began…to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city…and they came to Him from every quarter.” (Mark 1:45).
It is no wonder, then, upon hearing Jesus was in Capernaum, probably staying in Peter’s in-laws’ house, that, “…many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door.” (Mark 2:2).
The four men, carrying their paralytic friend on a makeshift stretcher, or even on a blanket, could not even get through the door!
- Many commoner’s houses were one floor with an outside stair leading up to a flat roof. In a wonderful Reader’s Digest book, Jesus and His Times, on page 93 this description of how the roof was constructed is of interest to our story:
The roof of the house was generally flat. To make it, brushwood branches were woven together and laid on rafters and then covered with a thick layer of clay that filled the spaces between the branches and formed a smooth, hardened layer of plaster. To keep the roof from washing away, the owner performed a number of maintenance chores that included rolling over the roof after a heavy rainstorm with a device very like the modern lawn roller, applying a fresh coat of clay plaster each fall before the start of the rainy season, and replacing the entire roof or sections of it, when needed. Fortunately, it was a fairly easy chore to cut away and replace sections of the roof.
- So up the stairs the four went, carefully carrying their friend to the level rooftop. Once there, they set about “…the fairly easy chore…” of cutting away a section of the roof!
Jesus was teaching in the house, just below where the four were opening a large hole in the ceiling!
- Falling debris must have attracted the attention of those inside!
- But it wasn’t just twigs and clay plaster that was coming down. A man on some form of a stretcher was being lowered………and landed right in front of Jesus!
- If the owner of the house was in attendance, he must have been highly irritated that some ‘idiots’ were destroying his roof!
- But Jesus saw the faith of five men…
✞ ...the four who carried their friend to the Lord, even daring to wreak havoc on someone else's house! ✞ ...the one now laying before Him, who had to have agreed to this crazy mission!
Jesus healed the paralytic man!
He can do miracles
when faith is in evidence before Him!
For it says in Mark 9:23, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Notice I left out a very important part of the account of this healing of the paralytic man. I did not quote all of Mark 2:5 through 11, the part where Jesus, before He performed the actual healing, said to the one lying before Him, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (Mark 2:5). That is the main subject of the next Gem!