Daily Prayer Devotional for Women and Men | OnlinePrayerJournal


(From Scripture Union)


Lord, we rejoice in Your ability to heal any kind of infirmity.


LUKE 5:17–26

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man 17One 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. 18Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When 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? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Psa. 103:10).

Think Further

In this account, Jesus is not dealing with sin as the cause of the man’s paralysis. Such an assertion serves to perpetuate a misunderstanding of Jesus that still affects many who, living with an illness or disability, mistakenly believe that their affliction is in some way their own fault. However, Jesus uses this situation, as he so often does, as an opportunity to affirm his authority to forgive sin. Orthodox belief at the time linked disability with personal sin: the Pharisees believe it and so does the man himself. He needs to be made whole in body, mind and spirit. In situations of dire need like this, Jesus does not engage in theological debate. This private home is not the place to discuss orthodox beliefs or to correct the man’s understanding of God. Jesus understands this man and meets him at his deepest level of need.

In this story we have Luke’s first mention of the word “faith” (20), the faith of four ordinary villagers, the faith which the Gospel writers so frequently cite among the “poor” who, to Luke at least, are the inheritors of the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20). The outworking of this faith lies not in their theological rectitude but rather in their belief that Jesus can heal and in their determination to get their friend through the crowd to Jesus. Their faith is rewarded: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (20). And then, after the murmuring of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus said “to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (24b,25). He leaves the house not merely healed of his paralysis but encouraged in the knowledge that nothing unforgiven, nothing undealt with, nothing lurking in his past, has any power over him. Actually, he leaves knowing far more about God than the theologians in the room.


“Almighty God, who inspired Your servant Luke the physician… graciously continue in Your church this love and power to heal, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Prayer for St Luke’s Day).


Lord, Your people fully understand the importance of forgiveness of sin and that the condition of our soul outranks the condition of our body.

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