Turning to Jesus! Lesson Two

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America

Daily Theme: Faith in Jesus brings us forgiveness for our sin

THE MAN WHO CAME IN THROUGH THE ROOF - a story from: Mark 2:1-17, Luke 5:17-26, Matt 9:2-7 - The Paralytic Man lowered through the roof.

Object Lesson:For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the Gospel will save it.

Study of the different Gospel Accounts:

Compare and contrast the accounts of Mark, Luke & Matthew concerning the healing of the Paralytic man.

Are there any significant differences? Which is the briefest? Most dramatic?

Matthew seems to place the cleansing of the leper and the healing of the paralytic much later in the ministry of Jesus. However, remember that his gospel is arranged topically rather than chronologically. But then none of three accounts is definite as to its exact moment of occurrence.

Mark says they dug through the roof, Luke that they removed tiles, Matt left the roof account out completely.

Matthew included the phrase "Take heart, son..." to "your sins are forgiven."

Jesus' Ministry of healing and its effects on the region

Describe Jesus' ministry in Capernaum and the surrounding area of Galilee? (Matt 4:23-25) What was its impact on the region? What was the response of the people toward Jesus? Why?

Jesus cast a demon out of a man. The man's disobedience to Jesus caused problems for the ministry Jesus was carrying on. He was mobbed by those with illnesses and deformities. The crowds both misunderstood and hindered his ministry of teaching and preaching the good news.

Consideration of the paralyzed man and his friends.

That his need was great can be seen in the way he was brought (carried flat on a litter by four friends) and in their persistence in laying him before Jesus. The friends had a problem however: getting to Jesus. They must have tried every other way possible before taking on the rigorous task of using the roof.

How did they hear about Jesus? (1:45) What were they seeking Jesus to do? What kind of friends did the paralyzed man have? In what ways did the man and his friends show their faith?

Faith finds a way - an opening made through the roof.

What was their problem in gaining access to Jesus? Who made up the crowd of people. What kind of place was Jesus in and what was he doing there?

Speculate on how many ways they must have tried to get the man to Jesus and why they had to resort to the roof.

Visualize the complicated process of getting the man up on the roof, making an opening, rigging a means of lowering him and letting him down.

The flat roof had beams laid across it, then a layer of boughs, then a layer of dried mud. In a region of very little rain fall, this kind of roof was quite common. Flat roofs were often used in the evening like a deck as a place for gathering away from the heat indoors and often had stairs as a means of access.

Jesus forgives the man's sins.

Upon seeing this demonstration of faith Jesus responded by offering what to the paralyzed man forgiveness for his sins. The was brought by his friends seeking physical healing for his temporal infirmity. Jesus offers him forgiveness of sins (spiritual healing).

What was his greatest need? Do you think he was pleased or displeased by these words of Jesus?

It is possible that not only were his limbs completely incapable of movement, but that even his speech was impaired. Nothing is recorded of him saying anything to Jesus. But Jesus seems to respond to the prayer of his heart. The room is silent - until Jesus speaks!

Jesus knew that this man's sins - the many ways in which by means of his attitudes, thoughts, words and deeds he had missed the mark of living in harmony with God's will- grieved him terribly... this pronouncement of pardon was probably Jesus' answer to the greatest desire of the man's heart. And to the prayers of his friends. This story teaches us that God responds to the united prayers of his people.

What's more important in our sight? In God's? - Temporal health or Eternal life?

What is the sin that the man needed forgiveness for? Why does a person need forgiveness? Why is it that only God can forgive sins?

In that only God can forgive sins, there is nothing we can do to bring about that forgiveness, apart from trusting him. The basis of his forgiveness was something only Jesus could offer - because he himself would take that man's place, dying for him on the cross and thus satisfying God's demands.

The man was absolutely helpless. He could do nothing to help himself. It was their "faith" showing itself in action, believing that only Jesus could help him that Jesus responded to. The Scribes and Pharisees trusted in their sacrifices and Law, but this man knew he had to get to Jesus for the help he needed.

Which would be easier to do - to heal the man or forgive him?

There was a group of Scribes and Pharisees thinking terrible things!!

Why were the religious teachers of the law there? Why did the religious teachers criticize Jesus' words. Did they clearly understand the Spiritual nature of what he offered?

"The conflict could not be avoided; for he stressed love, they legalism; he God's holy law, they law burying tradition; he freedom, they bondage; he the inner attitude, they the outward act. How they hated to surrender to him their prestige, their hold on the public!" Hendricksen, Commentary on Mark, p. 86.

They professed zeal for God, yet found fault with Jesus. What was correct and / or incorrect in their thinking? What was wrong with their attitude? How was their attitude sinful? How were their hearts "hard" and "calloused"?

Jesus knew what they were thinking..."Who can forgive sins but God alone?" How did Jesus know what they were thinking? Does he know what goes on in our hearts and thoughts as well?

"Which is easier" - to forgive him or heal him?

How did Jesus prove this authority he claimed to forgive sins? How was this a proof of his power and authority? Of his love and compassion?

Consider what happened when Jesus commanded the man to get up. The paralyzed man left through the door on his own two feet, carrying his bed and praising God! What was the response of the crowd to the miracle? Do any of the Gospels record a change of heart in the Pharisees?

We see joy in the forgiveness of repented sin (the praise of God by the healed man, his friends and the crowd) contrasted with the hardness of unrepentant Pharisees. Note the progression of their opposition to Jesus: Vs 2:6,7... 2:16... 2:24... 3:6... 3:22.

Review and Applications:

What do we learn here about faith? About Repentance? About being a disciple?

What illustrations of "saving" faith can you find in this story?

If one of your children had the opportunity to ask Jesus for one thing, what sort of things might he or she ask for? Contrast these with what Jesus knows we need most.

Jesus knows what we are thinking and why! What are some ways you will apply this truth to you children?

© 1989 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship,
Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
For Permission to reproduce and use these materials and other information
Contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net