In the story of the paralytic man being lowered through the roof of a crowded building so that Jesus might heal him, most people focus on the faith of the paralytic man’s friends. But have you ever considered the story from the paralytic man’s point of view? Did he need faith too?
When they arrived at the crowded house, “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” (Luke 5:19). They could ascend to the roof because ladders or stairs often led to roofs in these Jewish homes. Additionally, removing parts of the roof, likely made of clay or mud, wasn’t as difﬁcult as it would be with modern homes. This man’s friends were on a mission, and nothing was going to deter them from helping their friend. But what was the man in the stretcher thinking?
I can place myself in the paralyzed man’s sandals, if he even wore any. If I had been him, I wouldn’t have wanted my friends to make such a spectacle in order to help me. This is why I often wouldn’t let someone just help me get my wheelchair out of my car or open a door for me. I certainly wouldn’t want them to physically cart me on a stretcher onto someone’s house! I would not have wanted them to do something like that in front of a crowd either.
All eyes on weak me? No thank you!
And I absolutely would not have wanted Jesus, the most famous man of his time and region, to see me in such a pitiful state. I would have wanted to impress him, maybe even to show him how I could take a few steps on my own, or wedge my way toward him all by myself, even in the midst of the crowd. Wouldn’t he see more faith that way?
Sadly, if I had been that man, my pride would have taken over. I would not have given those guys the blessing of helping me and witnessing God’s power. And I likely wouldn’t have experienced the healing that the paralyzed man ultimately did.
But the paralyzed man exercised a different kind of faith than his friends. His faith wasn’t as evident as his friends’, but it was no less real and essential. To outsiders (and even today’s Bible readers), his faith may have appeared weak compared to his friends’ “strong” faith. But I would argue that the paralyzed man’s faith was much stronger and much more in line with Jesus’ upside-down deﬁnition of weakness.
The paralyzed man had to be vulnerable and weak to relinquish control and let his friends lower him through the roof to access Jesus and his amazing power. The man allowed his friends to make that spectacle of lowering him into Jesus’ room. What did that man physically do that entire time? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! Talk about unmerited favor. He rested in the conﬁdence of his friends’ strength and that Jesus would heal him. He allowed himself to be weak so that he might be made strong.
A paralytic is weak whether they want to be or not; but this paralytic man had to learn to accept his vulnerability. When he did—and maybe he’d done that long before this momentous event—he experienced intimacy with his friends, and his friends experienced purpose in helping their friend get closer to God.
By allowing himself to be lowered, the man experienced Jesus’ power. He was forgiven his sins, then he was physically healed—all because, in humility, he trusted his friends and his God with his weakened state.
His weak became his new strong.
The man who was once only known as “that paralyzed guy” is now forever immortalized as “that guy Jesus healed.” Even better for him, he met Jesus as a result of accepting his frailty among his friends and letting them help him access Jesus and Jesus’s power in his weakness.
Hear Todd Lollar’s amazing story this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Pg 164-165 from Weak Is The New Strong by Todd Lollar. Copyright ©2020. Copied by permission of Leafwood Publishers, an imprint of Abilene Christian University Press. All rights reserved.