John 5:17-26 “On one of those days, as He (i.e., Jesus) 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.’”
If you are a believer, do you realize that your faith is a gift of God? As we are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this (i.e., your faith) is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” You see, we can take no credit for the fact that we have believed. It’s not because we are more worthy than anyone else, nor that we are smarter, more righteous, or “better” in any other way. It is a pure gift of God that we have believed. In His sovereignty God chose to open our eyes. He chose to answer the prayers of others that had been praying for us. Though I don’t pretend to understand all of this, that’s how God works, as the Scriptures are clear.
One such example of this is found in the story recorded above from John 5. Here we have the story of a man who was healed after his friends lowered him through the tiles of a roof. Notice that it says “When He saw their faith” He both forgave the man’s sins and healed Him physically. Again, it was “their” faith, the paralytics friends’ faith, that Jesus rewarded. The paralytic had no way to approach Jesus. It was the paralytic’s friends’ faith and their efforts proceeding from that faith that enabled the man to be brought to Jesus. And God blessed that faith in a wonderful way, bringing both physical and spiritual healing.
So, what’s the lesson here for us? Well, do you have any friends, relatives, or neighbors that don’t know Jesus? Do you have people in your life that are just as paralyzed spiritually as the man in the account above was paralyzed physically? You see, if a person doesn’t know Jesus, they are not only paralyzed spiritually, there are spiritually dead. They can’t reach out for Jesus for they are totally incapable. However, if you know Christ, the same isn’t true for you. You are spiritually alive. You walk in the Spirit. You have the spiritual power to do things that those without Christ aren’t capable of. You have access to the very throne room of God. You can carry those whom you love before the throne in prayer. While you may not be lowering them through the roof into a house, you can “bring them up through the floor” into your home in heaven. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? So, may God help you and me to do just that. May we pray, both alone in secret and together with other believers, carrying those who don’t know Jesus into His very presence. It’s God’s will that we do this. Hasn’t He said, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (1 Timothy 2:1-7).” The work of prayer involves carrying those who don’t know Christ before Him in faith. We can pray for anyone. We have that kind of spiritual power and privilege.
May God help us to remember to carry those whom we love into His very throne room in prayer. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility of every believer. And it’s a work that our wonderful God will reward. Praise His name!