The Story of Jesus

A Cripple And His Friends

Wherever Jesus went, crowds followed him. They gathered around him in the streets and in the homes where he stayed. Some of these people were his friends; others were merely curious to hear him speak and to see him do some miracle; others followed to find fault with him.

 

One day while Jesus was in Capernaum, many people came to the house where he was staying. Disciples, friends, curiosity seekers, and faultfinders crowded the house until not another person could get inside the door.

Jesus healed those who were sick and preached about the kingdom of God. As the people listened, they heard strange noises overhead. Presently the roof began to part, and the people saw a man lying on a cot being lowered from the ceiling.

From the roof the crippled man's four friends looked on anxiously. Would Jesus heal their crippled friend? He was not able to move about. Day after day he had lain weak and helpless on his bed. His friends had tried to bring him to Jesus, but they could not get through the door because of the crowd. They had to find another way.

When the four carriers could not get through the door, they took the crippled man up onto the roof. Laying down the bed mat, they got down on their knees and began lifting out the tiles of the roof. Soon they could see Jesus preaching below. They tied ropes about the sick man's bed and lowered him very carefully into the room before Jesus.

The people in the room wondered what was happening. They wondered what Jesus would do. Perhaps some of them knew the sick man. How surprised they were to hear Jesus say, "Son, be of good cheer, for your sins are forgiven"!

Now the people did not watch the sick man any longer. Instead they looked at Jesus in surprise. He had dared to -say, "Your sins are forgiven." They knew God could forgive sins, but they did not know that Jesus was the Son of God.

The scribes and Pharisees who had come to find fault said in their hearts, "Who is this Jesus who pretends to forgive sins? None except God can do that!"

Jesus knew their thoughts and said, "Why do you think evil of me in your hearts? Is it easier to tell the man that his sins are forgiven, or to tell him to rise up from his bed and walk? But that you may know I have power on earth to forgive sins too"óJesus said to the manó"Arise, take up your bed, and return to your own house."

Immediately all the stiffness left the sick man's body and his strength returned. He got up, rolled up his bed, and lifted it up onto his shoulders. The people were so surprised that they made way for him as he walked through the room and into the street to join his happy friends.

The people did not know what to think. Some were afraid; all were amazed. They glorified God. As they hurried home, they said to each other, "Surely we have never seen anything like this before!"


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