“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” (Mark 2:5)
If you’ve ever had a really close friend who was sick or injured, you know how hard it is to see them suffer. Most of us would be willing to do almost anything for the sake of helping someone we love. Imagine for a moment that one such person to whom you are very close is suffering from a terminally debilitating condition, and that an individual who could immediately heal them was close at hand. What would you not dare in order to get this friend into the presence of that healer?
Now imagine that this friend of yours suffers not from a mere physical ailment or disease, but from a spiritual plague that is eating away at their very soul and threatening to cause eternal death. Their condition worsens daily, and at any moment they could pass the threshold of physical death, where their malady would be beyond anyone’s help. What would you not dare to get this person you love into the presence of the One who is able to heal him?
It’s strange how our hearts become overwhelmed with pity for the physical suffering of those around us, and yet we all know friends, relatives, or neighbors whose souls are in critical condition. If any of these people were physically dying, we would be willing to carry them on foot for miles to whatever specialist was available, go to great lengths to attract the personal attention they need, and pay whatever price was demanded for their treatment. But often, we neglect to get them the necessary spiritual treatment because we are ashamed, embarrassed, or reluctant to cause tension in our relationship with them.
The paralytic’s friends loved him very much. They knew that only one person could heal him and restore the use of his legs. And so, they were willing to do whatever it took to get him into Jesus’ presence, trusting in the merciful Lord to heal him. What they didn’t realize is that Jesus came first and foremost to remove our spiritual disease of sin – a much more serious condition than even paralysis – and that they all needed His medical attention. He then restored their bed-ridden friend’s physical capacities in order to show everyone present that He had the power and authority to remove even the most aggressive strains of humanity’s sinful disease.
If you have a friend or relative who is suffering from sickness or physical adversity, by all means bring them to the Lord in prayer for strength and healing. But also realize that sometimes physical ailments are just what the Doctor ordered for our spiritual sickness. Pray more so that God would use whatever adversity they are facing to bring them closer to Himself.
If you have a loved one whose spiritual health is on life-support, the best thing you can do is to take a lesson from the paralytic’s friends: Do whatever it takes to bring them into Jesus’ presence. Then, trust in His mercy to heal and restore them. Your job is not to work the miracle – but you can remove the barriers and bring them face to face with their risen Lord. Only by Jesus’ grace, power, and authority will they arise and walk once more with Him.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we bring before you all those who do not know the joy of Your forgiveness. Bend their hearts that they may turn to You in repentance and faith, receiving redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ, You Son, our Lord. Amen.