Pre-teaching: talk about houses in Jesus' day. Flat roofs. Show models or pictures.
(put up JESUS) Describe Jesus' Galilean ministry. The healings. The growing crowds of people. (Add figures of PEOPLE around him.) Where ever he went people came. There were his disciples. There were many sick or deformed people, who wanted to be healed of sicknesses or have demons cast out. And some of the religious leaders wanted to debate with Jesus concerning the things he was teaching. (Cf Mark 1:33ff)
Jesus, because he was God's Son was able to heal them. He was able to answer the questions that were asked of him. His disciples were very glad to listen to him teach them, but some of the scribes and Pharisees didn't like the things he said, even though they were the Truth.
Imagine how crowded it must have been one day when Jesus was in a house. (Add WALLS & CEILING) Even outside all the doors and windows there were crowds of people.
There was a man from a town nearby who was paralyzed. He couldn't walk. He couldn't use his arms. In fact, he couldn't even talk. Whether this was because of an illness or an accident, we don't know. But we do know he had some very special friends. (Add on right PARALYTIC and FRIENDS)
When they heard about Jesus, they started talking about all the things that were said about him --- that he did miracles such as the time he cast out a demon and another time he healed a man with a incurable skin disease called leprousy. They talked about the things he was teaching.
When they mentioned that he claimed to be able to forgive sins, the paralyzed man got excited. His friends thought it was because Jesus had been healing so many people. They decided to take him to Jesus. It took four of them to carry him on a litter.
(Move to middle) But when they arrived, there was a great crowd around the house. At the door they were told it was too crowded and Jesus was busy talking to some Scribes. They tried to get through the crowd but it was too crowded. They tried the back door, same problem. They tried the windows, but they too were blocked by the crowd.
They really believed that Jesus could help their friend, if they could get through the crowd to him. But what could they do. One of the friends suggested digging a tunnel - but another said that would be dumb. They looked at their friend on his litter. They wanted to get him to Jesus really bad, but how. Finally The third friend said "it's too bad we can't use the roof", and the fourth friend said, "Why not!"
But even getting up on the roof was not easy (replace figures of friends with Friends on roof). but finally they got up there. After spending some time figuring out where Jesus was in the house and how to make a hole in the roof, they set to work.
Imagine the surprise below as the men working above made their hole. Jesus stopped talking and looked up. Everyone else in the room stopped talking and looked up. Even the Scribes, who were muttering to each other about what Jesus had been saying stopped muttering. There was even more quiet as the hole was made bigger.
(add Paralytic being lowered) Then the friends using ropes began lowering their friend. Everyone was wondering what was happening. But Jesus knew. He knew what the four friends were thinking. They wanted Jesus to heal their friend. Jesus knew they trusted him. But Jesus surprised them as he looked into the man's eyes and said "Son your sins are forgiven". Jesus knew what the paralyzed man really wanted. You could see the joy on his face.
But Jesus knew what the Scribes were thinking too. They were thinking that Jesus was wrong to say this because only God could forgive sins. Jesus knows what you are thinking right now. He knows when you are thinking bad thoughts or mad thoughts or planning something selfish or mean.
Now the Scribes were partly right. Sin is very terrible. It is when we do things that God has forbidden. Sin is also when we don't do what God has asked us. All sin makes God very sad. No matter how much good we do, God has to punish our sins. Only God can forgive sin. (Use one or two appropriate illustrations here)
Jesus was God's son. He had come to die on the cross for our sins. But the Scribes didn't believe as the paralyzed man and his friends did that Jesus was God's son. It was because they believed that Jesus had forgiven his sins. Jesus always forgives the sins of those who believe in him. John 3:16. We all need forgiveness for sin. It is even more important than being able to walk or talk. What good is it to be able to walk or talk if God is angry with us and must punish us for our sins? How wonderful to be forgiven of our sins!
Jesus was angry with them for not believing he was God's son. So he said. "Which is easier. To say your sins are forgiven or talk up you bed and walk?" So you may know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins..." (replace paralytic with Walking out Paralytic) He said to the man, "get up, take up your bed and go home." and the man did just that, in front of all the crowd. In front of the disciples. In front of all the sick and injured. right below the watching eyes of his friends. And in front of the Scribes. Everyone was so amazed!