When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
During my childhood, one of the most feared diseases was polio, often called “infantile paralysis” because most of those infected were young children. Before a preventive vaccine was developed in the mid-1950s, some 20,000 people were paralyzed by polio and about 1,000 died from it each year in the United States alone.
In ancient times, paralysis was viewed as a permanent, hopeless condition. But one group of men believed Jesus could help their paralyzed friend. While Jesus was teaching in the village of Capernaum, four of the men carried the man to Him. When they couldn’t reach Jesus because of the crowd, “they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on” (Mark 2:1-4).
Jesus is the only One who can meet our deepest needs.
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ ” (v. 5), followed by “Get up, take your mat and go home” (v. 11). How remarkable that in response to the faith of the men who brought their friend, Jesus forgave his sins and healed his incurable condition!
When someone we know is facing serious physical difficulty or a spiritual crisis, it is our privilege to join together in prayer, bringing our friends to Jesus—the only One who can meet their deepest needs.
Lord Jesus, we know that You can speak the words of eternal life and healing to people in great need. We bring them to You in prayer today.
Praying for others is a privilege—and a responsibility.
Capernaum was a fishing community on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, which essentially became the headquarters of Jesus’ northern ministry (Matt. 4:13). Home to Peter, James, John, and Andrew—four of Jesus’ disciples—Capernaum was an important village on a major trade route. The name Capernaum means “the village of Nahum,” and Nahum was one of the Old Testament prophets. This fact seems to have been conveniently ignored by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who, when debating His legitimacy as a prophet, said, “You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:52). Bill Crowder