- Paralysed Man
- We don’t know if the man had always been paralysed – for some people disability is life-long, for others it happens through illness or accident or later in life.
- Being paralysed, he wouldn’t have been able to move around by himself, leave the house or earn a living – he would be completely dependent on others for everything.
- It is likely that the only way of him being able to get his basic needs to survive would be to be carried outside into the town square to beg.
- This same situation happens today in many developing countries where disabled people are still treated as outcasts.
- Through the Roof ‘Wheels for the World’ mission trips constantly meet people who are in this situation. The trips take refurbished wheelchairs and mobility aids, along with Bibles, for people just
like the paralysed man in Luke 5.
- What did the paralysed man need – he needed to know Jesus.
- What do our Wheels for the World recipients need – the need is still exactly the same – they need to know Jesus – demonstrated through the love of Christians providing a wheelchair and a Bible.
2. The Four Friends
These men were true friends – they saw past the man’s disability. They saw the man himself as a friend and responded to what he needed. They treated him with love, respect and compassion.
- It probably wasn’t easy carrying the man on the stretcher.
- We don’t know how far they had to carry him.
- They worked together and they were determined, because they knew how important this was for the paralysed man.
- When they arrived and couldn’t get into the house, they must have felt they were never going to succeed in getting their friend to Jesus.
- It was a brave idea to break through the roof – what would the owner of the house say, or do to them?
- They put their friend’s needs before their own safety or reputation. They knew how important it was for him to meet Jesus.
- The situation is exactly the same today – it is just as important for disabled people to meet Jesus today as it was then
- Through the Roof’s ‘Roofbreaker’ project is exactly this – to break down the barriers that might prevent disabled people from meeting Jesus.
- It goes further than that too… once someone meets Jesus, they will want to serve Him and tell others about Him too – so barriers need to be removed so that disabled people can not only come to faith, but grow in faith and share that faith in the same way as everyone.
3. The Crowd
The Bible account says that those who were present when the man was lowered through the roof were ‘amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe’.
- The Pharisees and teachers of the law who were present didn’t recognise who Jesus was. Jesus chose a disabled man to demonstrate exactly who He was.
- Jesus could have just healed the man, but He didn’t. Jesus chose this moment to demonstrate that He was indeed the Son of Man and that He did indeed have authority to forgive sins.
- What an honour for the paralysed man to be chosen to display Jesus’ authority in this way.
- How much more important it is to meet Jesus, to know who He is, and to have your sins forgiven than just to be physically healed?
Physical healing can only be temporary – our earthly bodies will one day die – but when Jesus forgives our sins, He is giving the gift of eternal life.
- So, what impact did it have on the lives of those who witnessed this?
- Imagine you were one of the people in that crowd. That moment would be a transforming point in your life because of what you had witnessed. That’s why it’s important today to hear about how God still works in and through the lives of disabled people.
- The personal stories of disabled people whose lives have been changed by Jesus are incredibly powerful. We need to hear more of them, so that Jesus can work through those to transform other lives too.
4. Our Response
- How does the account of the paralysed man affect us even today as we hear it and respond to its message?
- What do we learn from the paralysed man – are we seeking our own encounter with Jesus that will transform our lives completely?
Jesus can take our weakness, transform it, and glorify God. Like the paralysed man, our lives will never be the same again once we have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. And of course, then we need to respond and make sure others can come to know Jesus too.
- What do we learn from the four friends?
- God can use us if we have faith in Him. We may not need to break through roofs, but there are still barriers today that prevent disabled people from coming to Jesus – what can we do?
- Let’s dig through that roof!
Let’s break down the barriers!
- The barriers might not always be what we would think. The barriers in our churches are not always
to do with the building, there can be other barriers too – we need to ask disabled people themselves so that we can break through those barriers as the four friends did.
- And what do we learn from the ‘others’ in the story?
- Are we people who are amazed and give praise to God?
- Are we ‘filled with awe’ by observing Jesus in action as they were?
- Or are we like the Pharisees and teachers of the law clinging on to our traditionalism and not being willing to change?
- If we see Jesus for who He really is, all this will be turned on its head. How will we respond?
It’s time for churches to make sure there aren’t any barriers for disabled people coming to Jesus. Take an honest look, but most importantly ask disabled people if there are any barriers they are facing. And remember there’s lots of help available – Through the Roof will be delighted to help.
We all need to be transformed by Jesus and that’s exactly what Through the Roof is aiming for.
- Through the Roof’s mission is: ‘Transforming lives through Jesus with disabled people’. That is exactly what we see in the account of the paralysed man. It is Jesus doing the transforming, but Jesus not only transforms the life of a disabled person, Jesus also works through this person to transform the lives of others too.
Stay tuned for our next Disability Awareness Sunday Service on the 17th of September 2023!