Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!” (Luke 5:17-26)
Eager Roofers Needed
The crowd included Pharisees and teachers of the law from every town of Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem. There could be no doubt the spiritual elite were gathered in one place to hear what Jesus had to say and see if the miracles were true. This crowd could only be defined as a multitude of people crowded in to be healed and see healing. Somewhere close by some men had grave concerns about a friend who was paralyzed. Knowing he could not go to Jesus they took it upon themselves to carry him the distance to where Jesus was.
When the men arrived at the house they had a problem. Because of the press of the crowd they were unable to take the man in. So many people were crowding into the house and around the house it was impossible to bring their friend to Jesus. Begging people to move was to no avail. Pleading their case fell on deaf ears. Undaunted they hatched a bold plan. Gaining access to the roof they began removing the tiles (a large hole) and with ropes let their friend down into the midst before Jesus. Now they waited to see what would happen.
Those in the house were astonished at the bold tact of the men. Dirt and dust rained down on the crowded room as they opened a hole. Complaints rose from voices asking what the men thought they were doing. What is the meaning of tearing a man’s house apart to let a stranger down before everyone? Jesus did not miss a step. He immediately recognized the faith of the eager roofers and declared their friend free of sin. It would seem at least that while it was a blessing to have sins forgiven the intent of the bold move was something more than that. Jesus knew the hearts of the friends but He also knew the hearts of those religious leaders from all over the land who had come to watch Him.
As the Master Teacher Jesus used the moment to further prove to His skeptics that no man could do what He did save He was the Son of God. It is easy to say to anyone their sins are forgiven. There is no evidentiary proof this took place as only words passed the lips of Jesus. On the other hand to tell this emaciated paralyzed man to rise up and walk out the door was a different story entirely. And that is what Jesus did. To the friends joyful surprise their fellow comrade rolled over, stood on his own two feet, gathered his bed together and walked out the door. And he did this immediately.
I can only think what a trip home that was for all those men who brought their friend. There can be no words to fully show the gratification of the paralyzed man to what his friends did for him. He found salvation because his friends took the time and effort to take him to Jesus so that he could be healed. They did not heal him. There was no power within their hands to heal their friend. But they knew how to take him to Jesus. When they met an unyielding crowd they knew how to take a roof apart. They would not rest until they had their friend into the midst of Jesus. To their delight they returned home with a friend who was now healed. Others would rejoice when they saw their son, brother and friend no longer bound by the chains of suffering.
We need roofers today. There is a need for folk who may not have the skill to fully explain the gospel of Christ to friends and neighbors but they know how to bring them to a place where they can find the healing power of the Lord. Sometimes it may take drastic measures but that just means they will not rest until they have shared the gospel with those they love. The real joy in the story is the trip home. Have you experienced what happens after the person you brought to learn the gospel goes home a Christian? It is a great feeling – for everyone.
The New Testament is the history of the life and the testimony of common men who rallied to the fellowship of Jesus Christ and who by their faith and preaching remade a world that was under the thrall of a Roman army. (Woodrow Wilson, Address, May, 1911)