August 8, 2021 The Salvation of the Paralyzed Man

The Salvation of the Paralyzed Man

August 8, 2021



Read Matthew 9:1-8.


Jesus returns to Capernaum. This was the city where he based his ministry. Jesus performed two miracles upon the paralyzed man. Which is the greater miracle? The healing of his body or the salvation of his soul?


If I were this man, how great would be my desire to walk. We desire our bodies to function the way they were meant to function. His need was great. But, we must remember that our physical lives are brief.  The average life span for a male in the U.S, is 78 years. If we eat in moderation and exercise we can expect to add another five to ten years to that. Even so, by the age of 90 most of us will end our lives. Whatever physical benefits we receive in this life are transitory. Our greater need is to be ready to meet the Lord in judgment in that day that he has ordained. Every person must have their sins forgiven in order to pass through that day of judgment unscathed.


When Jesus sees the faith of the man’s friends in bringing him, he saves this man first. That is, he forgives his sins.


Observe the importance of this man’s friends. Jesus saw not the faith of the paralytic, but the faith of his friends. Of course, the faith of the paralyzed man is implied because he would not allow them to bring him without his consent. But the text says, “And when Jesus saw their faith…”, meaning the faith of those who dug a hole in the roof (Mark 2) and let the bed down so that the man could be healed.


This man’s friends were those who believed in the power of Jesus to heal. His friends were willing to go to extreme measures to get their friend to Jesus! We need friends like this! Choose your friends wisely. Do not just choose your friends out of comfort. We tend to choose friends who share similar interests, who are near our age, who have a sense of humor, and with whom we feel comfortable. Of course, none of those criteria are wrong. But, we need friends who, above all, believe in the power of Jesus and who love Jesus! We need friends who are willing to go out of their way to have us meet with Jesus. Those are the best friends, even if they don’t share all our interests or even if they are not funny. Choose friends who love Jesus! Choose friends who love you enough to ensure your salvation and your growth in life.


This man’s physical condition was a mirror of his soul. His paralysis made it impossible for him to carry out simple actions like walking or earning a living. But his paralysis reflected his inability to do anything good for God. More than this, his paralysis is a reflection of every person’s inability! His paralysis is your paralysis.


As to pleasing God or obeying the will of God and doing good, people are just like this man, without any strength.


You know that you should do good, but you have found yourself failing to do it time and time again. You know that you should be kind, but you have been unkind at times. You know that you should obey God, but you do not. The apostle Paul addressed this tragedy in Romans:


as it is written:

       “None is righteous, no, not one;

11        no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

12    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.” [1]


The condition of the paralyzed man is our condition. We may not be paralyzed physically, but we are all paralyzed in our souls.


Consider what this man did to obtain the healing he so desired and the salvation that he needed. These are the very same things that we need to do in order to receive salvation.


The first thing he did was to seek Jesus.


One must seek Jesus! But wait, didn’t we just read that no one seeks after God? Why was this man seeking Jesus? He sought Jesus for the same reason that people seem to seek him today. He wanted something from him. He wanted to be healed. This is man’s dilemma. He does not want God himself. Rather, he wants the benefits that God can bestow.


Thomas Aquinas correctly observed that this is the sinfulness of man: he seeks the benefits of God while fleeing from the Person of God.


Even though this is true, we still must seek Jesus. We must seek him because there is no other name under heaven by which a person can be saved except Jesus Christ. You may have a need that looms larger in your life than your sins. Seek Jesus! If you know that he has the power to heal you or to get you out of a miry pit then you are in the same position as this paralytic. Seek him!


The second thing is this: You must find a way to get up and go to the house! If this man had remained in his own dwelling he would not have been healed and he would not have been saved. He left his house and went to the house where Jesus was.


You must get to the house. The house today is the church:


but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.[2]


Jesus is in the house. But sometimes there are circumstances that hinder us from getting to the house.


And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.[3]


This man and his friends could not get into the house because of the crowd. Today, it might not be the crowd. There could be many reasons why someone has trouble getting into the house. They might be afraid to leave their comfort zone. They might simply be lazy. They may doubt that Jesus is there. Whatever the reason, you must – like the paralytic – find a way into the house! His friends dug a hole in the roof! That is radical! Do the radical thing and get to the house!


But the church is not Jesus. The man still had to come to Jesus Himself. Luke tells us that his friends let him down right in front of Jesus!


Third, we must lay before Jesus helplessly. That is what this man did. There he was, paralyzed and helpless for all to see! Everyone saw his helplessness but he didn’t care. He wanted Jesus to heal him! Let everyone see his helpless condition. “Just heal me, Lord!” That was his cry, if not by his words, by his actions!


Don’t be ashamed about your helplessness. You’ve been living with it your whole life! Jesus and Jesus alone is the one who can save you! So, come to him. Lay before him!


Last, it was faith that stirred the Lord to forgive his sins. There is confusion about faith, even among Christians. Allow me to explain what faith is not.


[1.] Faith is not wishful thinking. This is the concept that so many have about faith. If something about a belief system makes a person feel good or if it gives hope then they choose to have “faith.” In return for their faith they get to feel good or have a hope for the future. Under this idea, everyone gets to choose what they believe because it provides them something. And, it is impolite to question anyone’s “faith.” This is not the biblical, meaning true, definition of faith. Faith is not wishing.

[2.] Faith is not just a preference. If faith is not grounded in anything, which is the popular notion, then it becomes just a preference. You like chocolate ice cream and I like pistachio. It’s not too important who likes what. It just happens to be what we prefer.

[3.] Faith is not separated from facts or evidence. The idea that many have is that we know things based upon facts and then, for those things that we don’t know, we just have faith. That is not what faith is at all!


[4.] Faith is not just agreement or mental assent. It is not enough to simply believe the facts about who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross. It is not enough to believe that he rose from the dead. Now, one must believe those things. If you do not believe those things then you do not have faith. But just believing those things does not constitute saving faith. The demons believe all those things. Faith is far more than agreement.


Faith is trust. This man and his friends trusted in Christ to heal. When Christ saw faith, he forgave this man’s sins.


This man had a need: physical healing. He came to Christ. First Christ saved him. He forgave his sins. Then he healed his body. You too can receive a double blessing. The Lord can forgive your sins and he can mend your life! Trust in him to do it!


This is really a message for the lost. But these same four steps can be exercised by the one who has already become a disciple of Christ.


What is your need? Whatever you think your greatest need is, there is a need you may have that is greater. There may be a certain part of your life that is paralyzed. But your greatest need is forgiveness. Even those who follow Christ can have a besetting sin in their life that they are either unaware of or they think the Lord winks at it. Some here may need forgiveness.


First, seek Jesus. I tell you, there are those who have made a profession of faith but they have ceased seeking Jesus. Stop looking to worthless things and seek Jesus!


Second, get to the house. In this age, the blessings of God are mediated. He mediates blessing to you in his house!


Third, lay before Jesus helplessly. Admit to him your failure. Tell him that you are paralyzed to do his will. But, you do not want to remain in your paralysis.


Finally, trust him. Do not be afraid to follow his path, even if it is a path that you are not fond of. Trust him to not only change your circumstance, but trust him to change your heart! He has that power! He can change you so that you can love what you haven’t loved and hate what you haven’t hated (and should have hated).


“Lord, I am paralyzed! You know my inability! I cast myself upon your mercy! Heal me and change my heart! Amen.”


There are some here who need to come to the Lord in this way. Even now.






[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 3:10–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Ti 3:15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 2:1–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.