Jesus heals the Paralytic

7:45pm, Thu 22nd Jun 2017
Deanery Synod
Bible Reference: 

Recently I went to the Holy Land, for the first time.  The best place, for me, was Capernaum; and we visited the synagogue where this great story happened.

These people bring their friend to Jesus; and this is also our responsibility, to bring our friends to Jesus.  They got creative, lowering him through the roof; and we should be creative in evangelism.  God is the evangelist, not us: we simply bring people to Jesus.  This should be normal, week in week out, providing opportunities for people to meet Jesus.

In Southend, they simply researched the names on their War Memorial, and invited their living relatives to a service in church.  In Hadstock, they organised a Walk in the Woods, and invited people to picnics, activities, information boards, and prayer stations.  In St Paul's Braintree, new Vicar Sarah brought her whole PCC to Evangelism Training, started Messy Church, and asked for help not from Christians, but from all the local Toddler Groups.  They hoped for 50 people; on the day, 268 children came, so with families there were more than 500 persons!  Like the wedding at Cana, where Jesus produced nearly 200 gallons of the best wine.  Or the feeding of the 5,000.  An act of God's excessive generosity!

If you are thinking 'But we tried Messy Church, and we only got 10!' let me remind you, we are members of St Paul's Braintree!  We are one, working together for the gospel.

Anyway, this man is lowered in front of Jesus.  Imagine, you have a bad leg, you go to the GP.  He sits back, looks you in the eye, and says, 'My child, your sins are forgiven.'  'That's all very well, but I had an appointment about the leg!'

Jesus sees the faith of the friends.  And he only heals the man, when his authority to forgive sins is called into question.  He does NOT say that the sin is connected to the paralysis.  But it's almost as if Jesus does not see the paralysis.  So, when we come before Jesus, what does he see first?  He sees the things we don't see; he looks right to the heart.

Bishop Morris Maddocks: Healing ministry is Jesus meeting you at your point of deepest need.

Evangelism is a sacred encounter, that we cannot control, or make it happen.  It is the work of the Spirit of God.  But what we can do, is provide opportunities for people to meet with Jesus.  And then step back.

At the end of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus says "Go therefore, and make disciples."  But it can also be translated, "AS you go, make disciples."  Some have a public ministry of evangelism; but absolutely everyone should be part of the "AS you go..." - as you pick up the children, as you go shopping, as you walk the dog, be someone who makes disciples.  That's what the paralysed man does, he gets on with life.