Jesus healed the man who was not in his right mind living
naked out by the tombs, cutting himself. When Jesus healed the man, the people
saw him dressed, speaking plainly and in his right mind.
The symbolism of being naked is that those who are naked are
not protected and not covered by the robe of righteousness from Christ. They
are open to the elements and to the evils of the world.
The man is cutting himself, which reveals his dishonor
toward his body and his disrespect toward himself.
The fact that the man was not speaking plainly tells us that
he was not fully in the Word and was not understanding the Word of God being
spoken to him.
Not being in his right mind explains that the devil is taking hold of the mind God has given him. Not being plain in speech makes it clear that God is not in control of the man’s thoughts.
The man when he was healed served as an object lesson in and
of himself. This man’s newfound ability to speak, his clothed body, his clear
mind and his end to cutting made people realize that Jesus was at work. The man
himself spread the word that Jesus had transformed him and that Jesus was his
Savior. People came to believe in Jesus because of this man and what they had
witnessed happening to him.
The story of the healing of the paralyzed man has many
applications to our lives today. First, we look at the four friends who carried
him. What friends they were! They took the time to carry their friend to
healing. They took their friend to Jesus because they knew Jesus had healing in
his hands. Who are the friends in your life who have carried you? Who have been
there beside you through your suffering? And who have brought you close to
Jesus? Thank God for them today.
The way to Jesus was unusual. The friends carrying the
paralyzed man to Jesus could not go the normal way through the door to the
house where Jesus was. The crowds were crushing in to be near him, to listen to
him preach and to receive healing of their own. But this blocking of the door
did not stop the friends of the paralyzed man. It led them to seek Jesus by
another way—through the roof. They lowered their friend down from above to
place him right in front of Jesus. This process took strength, ingenuity and
creativity. This activity took risk and coordination among them. What ways to
Jesus have been unique and required extra insight and strategy on your part?
Thank God for helping you to see new ways to Jesus and allowing you the power
to follow through on the often unusual paths he puts before us to receive help
from our Savior.
Jesus’ interaction with the paralyzed man is rather
unexpected as well. When the paralyzed man is finally placed before Jesus, the
first thing Jesus does is forgive the man’s sins. Forgiveness is the man’s
greatest need, even more than the healing of his paralysis. Our sins paralyze
us in our faith, stopping us from growth and movement in our spiritual lives.
The removal of our sins through forgiveness in Christ is the only way we can
move forward in following our Savior. Jesus made the benefits of the
forgiveness of sins clear when he was questioned by the Pharisees. When we go
through trials in our lives, we need to remember that it is the blessing of
forgiveness in Christ that is needed most before any physical need.
Yet after providing the forgiveness of sins to the paralyzed
man, Jesus still gifts the man with healing in his body. “Rise, take your mat
and go,” Jesus says. Jesus allows us to arise from our troubles of body and
mind. We are lifted up from being down. We mirror Christ in his resurrection by
rising to new life through him.
When Jesus tells the paralyzed man to take his mat, it is
like he is saying, “Carry away all reminders of the past trials and recognize
the power you now have over those tribulations that once ruled your life.” The
mat represents the bad place the paralyzed man once was in and the carrying of
the mat symbolizes that he is not in that bad place any longer.
Then Jesus tells the paralyzed man, “Go!” This was something
he could not do previously—go forth on his own two feet and walk. “Go!” means
that the man can travel on his own by the power of the Spirit and follow the
path marked out for him by God. “Go!” means that the man is fully healed and
fully ready to move on in Christ.
When healing comes to you, be ready to go as the paralyzed
man was. Be ready to go and spread the news of what God has done for you in
Christ. Be ready to help those who are in trouble by supporting them with your
presence and prayers. Be ready to lead them to Jesus for help and healing. Be
ready to step in the footsteps of Christ and go where he goes and do what he
does. Go in the name of the Lord and be his follower forever.
Jesus met a rich young man who asked him, “What must I do to be saved?” Jesus answered that question with a question, “What are the greatest commandments?” and went on to say, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness.Honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said in response, “All these I have kept since my youth.” “Then there is one thing you lack,” Jesus said, “Go and sell your possessions and give them to the poor.” The young man walked away sad because he had many possessions and was not willing to give them up. Jesus said to his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. We in our world are very attached to our possessions. We become so attached that they become our gods. Think of all of our possessions—our houses, our clothes, our cars, our furniture, our dinnerware, glasses and silverware, our phones and other electronic devices—consider whether or not we can live without them. Some things we could give up easily and others we would have a hard time giving up. Why? Because they define who we are in this world. They bring us comfort and confidence in ourselves. But why is clinging to our possessions not something we should be doing? It is because those things are not who we are and those things will all pass away. What we need to cling to instead is our Savior, Jesus, because Jesus will be with us forever. He will last long past our every possession. He will define who we are beyond what we are on earth—we are children of God, saints in heaven, brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t hang our heads in sorrow but go forth with joy with our head held high.