Ripping the roof off

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And somemen were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”-He said to the paralytic-“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.” – Luke 5:17-26

If you have been in church long, you have probably heard this story at some point, in some context. I know I’ve heard it or read it at least a hundred times. I have been studying the book of Luke a lot lately and when I read this story this time, it hit me a little differently. I love when my change in perspective changes my approach to scripture.

There are three big ideas that stand out to me in this story.

  1. Luke 5:19 But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. The paralyzed man had friends who were willing to literally rip the roof off to get him closer to Jesus. It made me stop and think, “Have I surrounded myself with people who are willing to do crazy things to push me closer to Jesus? Unfortunately, I don’t think I have. I have one person who challenges me to get in the Word and listen to God more than their own opinions, but that’s not enough!
  2. Luke 5:17 One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. The religious leaders were crowded in a house to hear Jesus teach but they had their backs to the one man who probably needed Jesus the most. This leads me to ask myself if I do this? Do I too often have my focus in the wrong direction? The church has to be a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints. Likewise, I pray my ministry is more about the broken than the blessed. This story reminds me to not be inward-focused on what is happening in the four walls of my church or any church but to be more intentional about those far from God and in need of His hope, grace and love. 
  3. Luke 5:24 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the paralytic-“I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” After he was healed, Jesus told him to take his stretcher with him and go home. He wanted him to keep his stretcher as a reminder of where he came from. His stretcher was part of his story. It was symbolic of his brokenness before He met Jesus. Much like the paralytic, I have my own “stretcher.” I have my own story. When we accept Jesus, it doesn’t make our past irrelevant. In fact, our past is the very thing that makes the story of Jesus’ grace exactly relevant to the world we live in. 

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Are your friends willing to rip the roof off to get you closer to Jesus?
  2. What God-given opportunities are you missing out on because you aren’t paying attention?
  3. What is part of your story that highlights God’s love? 

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