Four Kinds of People
Lord Jesus Heals the paralytic man who was brought to him on a stretcher that was lowered from the roof.
“On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” (Luke 5:17-26)
This is recorded in the other gospels also – Matthew (9:1-8) and Mark (2:1-12)
The forgiveness of sins and the healing given by Lord Jesus Christ is the most significant aspect of the incident recorded. However, there were four kinds of people around in that home. They could be categorized as: Crippled Man, Caring Friends. Callous spectators and Critics. Today also we have these four kinds of people among the crowd around Jesus. Each one of us could be in any one of the four categories.
- Crippled Man
The man who was brought to Lord Jesus Christ was a crippled man. Even today there are a lot of crippled people in the world. They could be crippled in several aspects of life.
Spiritually crippled: There are people who are spiritually crippled. Indeed all people in the world are spiritually crippled. The Bible clearly teaches us that all humanity has sinned and have come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The spiritually crippled humanity needs forgiveness and the healing touch from Lord Jesus Christ.
Physically crippled: We are living in an imperfect world. There is curse, thorns and thistles, sickness, pain, suffering and weakness. Some people could be sick due to their own sins. Many are sick or disabled because of the act of other people. This man was crippled, may be because of his sins. Physically crippled people also need help. The health care system and also the help for disabled fulfills certain needs. There are few, who have their spirit free but body still crippled.
Mentally crippled: There are so many people who are mentally crippled. Their minds are blinded and darkened. Deception has crippled their minds. Wrong priorities could cripple a person’s mind. ” And Idle mind is devil’s workshop.” Today, people are filled with negative, destructive, deceptive, criminal thoughts and ideas. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8) Paul provides eight things to think about: truth, honour, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. How much of our thinking contains these eight aspects? If we are not able to think on these eight, we are mentally crippled. The crippled man brought to Lord Jesus would have struggles in his thinking. His thinking led him to depression and defeat.
Emotionally crippled: There are people who are emotionally crippled. They are hurt by other people’s behaviour, words or activities. Some are hurt by some loss or grief. Instead of joy and peace, they endure grief and sorrow. Recently, one 15 year old girl in Delhi was hurt because of a neighbour and she murdered the neighbours two year old son. There are others who commit suicide because they are hurt – eg: school kids who do not get smart phone or a particular dress. Even scolding by teachers are parents drive many to commit suicide. Self pity, Inferiority complex. Superiority complex and Martyr complex are some other emotional disability people have to deal with.
Faith of the crippled man: The crippled man must have heard about Lord Jesus Christ from the four caring friends. The seed of faith was sown by the friends. When the crippled man observed Lord Jesus Christ, learnt his teachings and his concern for people, his faith was mature to receive the forgiveness and healing.
- Caring Friends
The four friends who carried the crippled man to Lord Jesus Christ really loved him. To love a person with difficulty or disability is not easy. The friends were genuine and were eager to help this man who was crippled. There are friends who could mislead us. But, true friends are even closer and better than brothers. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
The friends were genuinely seeking a solution for the crippled friend. They must have heard that Lord Jesus was visiting Capernaum. So, they were prepared to take their crippled friend to Lord Jesus Christ. Their desire was that somehow know Lord Jesus Christ and also be healed. These friends shared their love and concern and a possible solution.
The four friends brought him to Jesus. It was not easy without wheel-chair or ambulance. They must have made special cot that could be carried by these four friends. It was a physical toil. The people could have ridiculed and mocked them for doing this. The faith of four friends and their love for the crippled man ignored all taunts.
There was also the issue of accessibility. There was a huge crowd of few hundreds. The crowd was not eager to make way. The caring friends thought of a creative way. If one way was blocked they looked for another. All entry points into the house was blocked. Only option for them was to come through the roof. They must have made quick plan and worked as a team. They had to share with one another the methodology and the overall strategy.
They must have greatly rejoiced seeing their friend being forgiven and walking with them back home. Their concern, hard work and aspirations were rewarded suitably. They must have repaired and restored the roof also, as there was no apparent complain from the house owner.
- Callous spectators
The crowd around Jesus in that home in Capernaum was obstructing others who wanted to come near Lord Jesus Christ. They did it intentionally or not; they were truly obstructing others. The disciples who were supposed to manage the crowd and help the needy persons to come near Lord Jesus Christ failed miserably.
There was commotion, noise and even dirt coming from the roof. However, all these did not bother the crowd. May be they were more eager and interested in their own spiritual life or blessing or glorious proximity with Lord Jesus Christ. It was outward looking to invite more people, but inward looking for more blessings.
May be this crowd were eager seekers and followers, but were not inclined towards sharing their blessings with others. They have the opinion that following Lord Jesus Christ is joy and there is no need to endure hardness or pain or suffering. They do not know about groans (Romans 8:22, 23; 2 Corinthians 5:4) and hence live life on a very insensitive level. Christians are called to be filled with the joy of Holy Spirit and also groan and grieve for the world of sin. This is a paradox and a very high calling.
Again, the disciples did not take initiative or leadership to make way in the midst for the crippled man to be brought to Lord Jesus Christ.
- Critics: The critics were the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Scribes. Though they knew that God will send a Messiah, they were not eagerly waiting for Him. They also had their own conceptions about Messiah and could not understand that He is the Messiah. Hence, they questioned His authority to forgiven sins. (Luke 5:17-26) They also nicknamed Lord Jesus Christ as ‘a friend of sinners’. (Luke 5:27-32) Later they also accused Lord Jesus of violating Sabbath as he healed on a Sabbath day. (Luke 6:1-11) They were more interested in finding faults. In this incident also, they were not concerned about the crippled person. As religious leaders of the community, they could have asked the crowd to make way for the friends to bring the crippled man to Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of the day, the crippled man was healed; the four friends were elated; callous crowd was rebuked; and the critics silenced. The crippled man and his caring friends walked back home rejoicing. Each one of us should become like the caring friends who were used to glorify God and be a blessing to others.