Most of us have never known what it is to live in a nation occupied by a foreign nation.  A miserable experience with broadly ranging opinions from those within–most of which are hostile to the occupying government.  We see this a lot right now in the Middle East.  But such was the case for Israel.  Rome occupied the land and they were well…hated.

Jesus was in “the house.”  Probably Peter’s house but we don’t know for sure.  We do know this.  Crowds were pressing impenetrably thick and the Pharisees and teachers of the Law showed up in abundance.  And they were sitting.  You can’t sit squished so I’m assuming they had some elbow room.  They would not be denied.

Anyway, they had come from every village in Galilee and from Judea AND Jerusalem.  Jesus was in the house but so were the big wigs.  They were here to check him out.  It’s surprising then that Jesus says “the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.”  It wasn’t exactly because there was faith in the room.

But then there were 4 guys carrying a paralytic buddy on a mat.  It doesn’t say directly who they were but look at the facts:

1)  The Greek word used for “mat” is for a Roman, military mat.
2)  They were a group of 4 which is then and now the number with which special ops team travel (think Navy Seals)
3)  They clearly re-conned the place knowing exactly where to break through the ceiling to get their buddy to Jesus
4)  Nobody stopped them from doing what they were doing which would’ve been easy considering the sheer numbers.
5)  The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were timid to voice their thoughts out loud, something they hadn’t really held back on previously.

My assumption?  The 4 were Roman soldiers carrying their paralyzed friend.  In a culture where numerous gods were served and sickness was from angering the gods or a curse from a past life, this injured man was probably tortured in soul.  It’s no wonder Jesus first said to him, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  Absolvement is what he needed more than anything.  No matter what he thought he had done, it was forgiven through Jesus.  A gift better than the one he thought he came for.

Of course the religious elite were riled up but Jesus saw right through them.  Honestly I too would probably be in their shoes thinking Jesus, the man had blasphemed.  But there Jesus goes.  He up and heals the man.  I love how Luke puts the actions of the healed man.

“He stood up in front of them.”
“He took what he had been lying on.”
“He went home praising God.”

The miracle was undeniable.  And so was his joy.  He went home, carrying his mat and praising God.  Gotta give kudos to the friends too who didn’t give up.  Their faith was fierce and didn’t stop when they hit a brick wall.  It was when Jesus saw “their faith” that he was moved to heal.

Anyway, the paralytic went home praising God.  And so did the people.  In fact, their perplexity and their praise also just went, well, through the roof.