Healing of a Paralysed Man


Healing of a Paralysed Man

How the Paralysed Man story reveals conflict :-

·       The religious teachers presented in this passage would have spent many years studying Jewish law (10 Commandments handed down by Moses) and all of the rules and regulations that go with it.  Jesus said that he could forgive sins, the religious teachers were hugely offended as from their studies they believed only God could forgive sins.  No human being had the right to claim that power; “God is the only one who can forgive sins”

·       If Jesus had simply cured the man, the teachers of the law would probably have taken no notice of him, or assumed he had new medical skills.  It was Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins that causes the conflict; “Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "My son, your sins are forgiven."”

·       In Jewish belief, only God can forgive sins, and this happens in the afterlife.  The teachers of the law perhaps would have thought that Jesus was intentionally insulting them.

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Healing of a Paralysed Man

  •  Jesus used the title “Son of Man”.  This too would have been an insult to the Jewish leaders. The title Son of Man, from Jesus’ perspective, was one of service, but from the Jewish authorities’ perspective, it would have been a claim to have the authority of God; “I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”
  • It was a very serious religious crime to claim to be God; it the Jewish authorities had political power, blasphemy would have been punishable by death.
  • It will cause conflict because the leaders did not want Jesus to be popular and start making people believe; “They were all completely amazed and praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
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Healing of a Paralysed Man

The significance for Christians today :-

  • The story reassures Christians that their sins can be forgiven if they faith in Jesus; “So they made a hole in the roof right above the place where Jesus was”
  • Christians today  can also have faith in the sacraments of the Church, such as the sacrament of Reconciliation, or the Sacrament of the Sick.  Both of these sacraments allow sins to be forgiven without the presence of Jesus in a bodily form, so require great faith from the person involved.  In the Catholic Church, a priest hears a person’s confession, and is able to grant forgiveness on behalf of God, but it is still God who forgives the sin, not the priest; “Seeing how much faith they had, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "My son, your sins are forgiven."  and “I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”


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Healing of a Paralysed Man

  • Christians today also learn that faith is an important part of physical and spiritual healing; the man in the story was physically healed and also spiritually cleansed of his sins.
  •  This story will encourage Christians to pray for healing when sick or may encourage them to attend places of healing such as Lourdes in France; “I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home!"
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Healing of a Paralysed Man

Problems with the story for Christians today:-

• However, there always remains an issue; why are some people healed and others are not?

• How much faith is enough faith to be healed?

• Seems to suggest that if we are not physically healed it is because our sins either cannot be forgiven or we have not asked for forgiveness; many devout Christians ask for forgiveness daily but they still suffer physically ailments. Seems to suggest that Jesus’ healing is arbitrary and not the actions of an omnibenevolent person.

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