THE PARALYTIC – MONOLOGUE
I am a young man with a foreign name, called Alex. After the Greeks destroyed the Persian Empire they left a deep cultural legacy on Israel.
I grew up on the shores of the beautiful Sea of Galilee. My parents were strict followers of the Jewish religion. They believed that a strict obedience of the Jewish rituals can earn your salvation.
Every Sabbath they took me took the synagogue at Capernaum where I listened to the do’s and don’ts.
But as I grew older I realized that the religious leaders were not caring about us but only for themselves.
Whenever they fasted to gain victory over some issue in their lives, they used to put up a sour face with expressions of pain.
Something else. They would suddenly stop, on our busy street corners, take out their shofars, blew on it to attract attention and started to pray the same prayer that they have prayed many many many times before.
As a teenager I had to make a decision; follow the religion of my parents or seek for something more satisfying.
I made friends with the teenagers of the publicans and the harlots. They were excluded from the society of the so-called of good people.
I must admit that sin was very pleasant but sin was not satisfying the deepest longing of my inner most being. I was making a mess of my life. One sin let to another.
My marriage suffered severely but in spite of my unfaithfulness, my wife remained faithful to me. I became weaker and weaker, and sicker and sicker.
I came to the place where I had lost all hope of recovery. What made things more unbearable was the fact that me disease was the result of a life of sin, and my sufferings were embittered by remorse.
Although I have long since stopped going to the synagogue on a Sabbath, I discussed my hopeless case the Pharisees and doctors of the law. I was hoping that they could give me some relief from my mental suffering and physical pain.
What a great shock was awaiting me. They coldly pronounced me incurable. If that was not enough to humiliate me and reject me, they abandoned me to the wrath of God.
They Pharisees gave me a further shock when they regarded affliction as an evidence of divine displeasure. They held themselves aloof from me and rejected me as rubbish.
What made things worse was that fact that often these very ones who exalted themselves as holy, were, guiltier than the sufferers they condemned.
The paralysis made me entirely helpless. I had zero prospect of healing or aid from any quarter. I sank into a deep dark pit of despair.
THE GOOD NEWS
A new Healer came to Capernaum and the people called Him Jesus. The name came from an Aramaic word that means “Healer”.
Jesus asked the people whom He healed not to spread the news abroad but this became an incentive to publish the good news to everybody they came across. More than one person told me how Jesus healed them completely.
The one thing that gave me courage to go and seek help from Jesus was the fact that He not only healed victims but that He also forgave their sins. And this was my greatest concern. A guilty conscience because of the damage and pain I caused my wife and parents, were slowly killing me.
Another incentive to go and look of this Healer called Jesus was my friends who reported these healings. They encouraged me to believe that I too might be cured if I could be carried to Jesus.
But my hope vanished in thin air when i remembered how the disease had been brought upon me.
I feared that the pure Physician would not tolerate me in His presence.
I Alex the sinner desired relief from the burden of sin. If I could see Jesus, and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with Heaven, I would be content to live or die, according to God’s will.
I remember the day when I burst onto tears while my life was slowing ebbing away: “Oh that I might come into His presence! There was no time to lose; already my wasted flesh was showing signs of decay. I asked my friends to carry me on my bed to Jesus, and this they gladly undertook to do.
But then we met with another serious challenge. So dense was the crowd that assembled in and about the house where the Saviour was, that it was impossible for me and my friends to reach Him, let alone coming within hearing of His voice.
Jesus was teaching in the house of Peter. According to their custom, His disciples sat close about Him, and “there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem.” These had come as spies, seeking an accusation against Jesus.
Outside of these officials thronged the promiscuous multitude, the eager, the reverent, the curious, and the unbelieving. Different nationalities and all grades of society were represented. “And the power of the Lord was present to heal.”
The Spirit of life brooded over the assembly, but Pharisees and doctors did not discern its presence. They felt no sense of need, and the healing was not for them. “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:53.
My friends kept on pushing their way through the crowd, but in vain. This caused me in unutterable anguish. When the longed-for help was so near, how could I relinquish hope? I suggested that my friends bore me to the top of the house and, breaking up the roof, let me down at the feet of Jesus.
It was a daring undertaking but a successful one. Jesus stopped preaching. He looked at me and saw my mournful countenance. The body language of my pleading eyes were fixed upon Him. He understood my plight.
He reached out to my perplexed and doubting spirit. While I was yet at home, the Saviour had brought conviction to my conscience. When I repented of my sins, and believed in the power of Jesus to make me whole, the life-giving mercies of the Saviour had first blessed my longing heart. Jesus had watched my first glimmer of faith grow into a belief that He was the sinner’s only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence.
Now, in words that fell like music on me, the sufferer’s ear, the Saviour said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” I cannot describe the burden of despair that rolled from me. The peace of forgiveness rests upon me, and shines out upon my countenance.
My physical pain is gone, and my whole being transformed. I was healed! I was pardoned! In simple faith I accepted the words of Jesus as the boon of new life. I urged no further request, but lay in blissful silence, too happy for words. The light of heaven irradiated my countenance, and the people looked with awe upon the scene.
The rabbis had waited anxiously to see what Christ would make of this case. They recollected how I appealed to them for help, and they had refused me hope or sympathy. Not satisfied with this, they had declared that i was suffering the curse of God for my sins. These things came fresh to their minds when they saw me before them.
They marked the interest with which all were watching the scene, and they felt a terrible fear of losing their own influence over the people. These dignitaries did not exchange words together, but looking into one another’s faces they read the same thought in each, that something must be done to arrest the tide of feeling.
Jesus had declared that my sins were forgiven. The Pharisees caught at these words as blasphemy, and conceived that they could present this as a sin worthy of death. They said in their hearts, “He blasphemed: who can forgive sins but One, even God?” Mark 2:7,
Fixing His glance upon them, beneath which they cowered, and drew back, Jesus said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,” He said, turning to the paralytic, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”
Then I who had been borne on a litter to Jesus rises to my feet with the elasticity and strength of youth. The life-giving blood bounds through my veins. Every organ of my body springs into sudden activity. The glow of health succeeds the pallor of approaching death.
“And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”
Oh, wondrous love of Christ, stooping to heal the guilty and the afflicted! Divinity sorrowing over and soothing the ills of suffering humanity! Oh, marvelous power thus displayed to the children of men! Who can doubt the message of salvation? Who can slight the mercies of a compassionate Redeemer?
It required nothing less than creative power to restore health to my decaying body. The same voice that spoke life to man created from the dust of the earth had spoken life to me the dying paralytic. And the same power that gave life to my body had renewed my heart. He who at the creation “spake, and it was,” who “commanded, and it stood fast,” (Psalm 33:9), had spoken life to me the soul dead in trespasses and sins.
The healing of my body was an evidence of the power that had renewed my heart. Christ bade me arise and walk, “that ye may know,” He said, “that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”
My dear friend there are today thousands suffering from physical disease, who, like me the paralytic, are longing for the message, “Thy sins are forgiven.” The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies.
You can find no relief until you come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can give, would impart vigour to your mind, and health to your body.
Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil.” “In Him was life,” and He says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He is “a quickening spirit.” John 3:8; John 1:4; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45.
And my dear friend, He still has the same life-giving power as when on earth He healed the sick, and spoke forgiveness to the sinner. He “forgiveth all thine iniquities,” He “healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:3. The effect produced upon the people by the healing of me, the paralytic was as if heaven had opened, and revealed the glories of the better world.
As I passed through the multitude, blessing God at every step, and bearing my bed as if it were a feather’s weight, the people fell back to give me room, and with awe-stricken faces gazed upon me, whispering softly among themselves, “We have seen strange things today.”
The Pharisees were dumb with amazement and overwhelmed with defeat. They saw that here was no opportunity for their jealousy to inflame the multitude. The wonderful work wrought upon me whom they had given over to the wrath of God had so impressed the people that the rabbis were for the time forgotten.
They saw that Christ possessed a power which they had ascribed to God alone; yet the gentle dignity of His manner was in marked contrast to their own haughty bearing. They were confused and ashamed, recognizing, but not confessing, the presence of a superior being. The stronger the evidence that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins, the more firmly they entrenched themselves in unbelief.
Here from the ruins of the home of Peter, where they had seen me restored by His word, they went away to invent new schemes for silencing the Son of God. Physical disease, however malignant and deep-seated, was healed by the power of Christ; but the disease of the soul took a firmer hold upon those who closed their eyes against the light.
Leprosy and palsy were not so terrible as bigotry and unbelief.
In my home there was great rejoicing when I returned to my family. I was carrying with ease the bed upon which I was taken to Jesus. You should have seen the tears of joy when they saw me. They could hardly believe their eyes. The embracing and the tears was not a matter of seconds but of… I stood before them in the full vigour of manhood. My muscles were back. I was a real man, not a dying wreck.
My arms that they had seen lifeless were quick to obey his will. My flesh that had been shrunken and lifeless was now fresh and ruddy. They watched me as I walked with a firm, free step. Joy and hope were written in every feature of my face.
The expression of purity and peace had taken the place of the marks of sin and suffering. Glad thanksgiving went up from my home, and God was glorified through His Son, who had restored hope to the hopeless, and strength to the stricken one.
I and my family were ready to lay down our lives for Jesus. No doubt dimmed our faith, no unbelief marred our allegiance to Him who had brought light into our darkened home.
THE LOOK OF JESUS THAT CHANGED A TAX COLLECTOR