He Stood Up … Luke 5:17-26

He Stood Up … Luke 5:17-26

The objective, verifiable demonstration of God’s power and pardon for sins is the resurrection; the “standing-up” again of Jesus from the dead. This is the centre of Luke’s message in his written accounts to Theophilus: Jesus is the resurrected Saviour and Lord of the world.

I was running an early morning devotion for a group of school leavers on a camp recently. In true camp fashion, we’d sung a few hymns, read some Scripture and were discussing its meaning and implications before praying for one another.

The passage was Luke 5:17-26—where some people lower their paralysed friend through a hole in a roof to get to Jesus. 

As we discussed the passage and tried to find out the meaning through questions and re-reading, the campers began to see Jesus’ authority—and also the way he prioritises forgiveness.

The surprise of the text is that Jesus says to the paralysed man, “your sins are forgiven”. It’s surprising, not just because that’s only something God can declare (since sin is ultimately an offence against him), but because the man’s friends had clearly brought him there for physical healing. You could imagine those present thinking, “Jesus, read the room! They’re here for something else …”

If the friends of the paralytic were disappointed they didn’t get the miracle they’d come for, the Scribes and Pharisees on the scene were furious that Jesus was audacious enough to grant forgiveness of sins. That is God’s prerogative alone. Perceiving their thoughts, Jesus asks the important question in v23: “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

Obviously, it is easier to say “your sins are forgiven” precisely because it is non-falsifiable or verifiable.

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