Title: I want a make a difference
Text: Luke 5:17-26
Introduction: I saw a TV commercial the other day for the insurance company Liberty Mutual. The commercials theme was people “doing the right things”. In this commercial you see a chain of events of people helping one another out in various situations from stopping someone from being hit by a car to pushing a staled car into a service. These are people who choose to do right and making a difference in people’s lives. When I look at this commercial and saw how people who cared enough to try to make a difference in the lives of those they come across, I could not help but thinks about the responsibilities of the Church. The commercial shares the common theme with the church, “people doing the rights things”, which the end results in making a difference in someone’s life. Our text today is about people who did the right thing in someone’s life in attempt to make a difference and the God who made that difference possible.
In order to make a difference, you have to have an objective. The text says there were some men who brought a paralyzed on his bed. They sought to bring him where Jesus was and lay him before him. They had an objective; if we can get him to Jesus and put him as his feet, Jesus can heal him. They sought a way to get this done. Sought in the original language means to seek in order to find by thinking, meditating, reasoning to enquire into. They had a well thought out plan to get some help for someone they care about other than themselves. This is what is what the church should do! The church has to be that selfless instead of being so selfish. We tend to think Jesus is ours only. But these men knew what Jesus was all about. Jesus came for the disenfranchised and the outcast like this paralytic. Let us pause right here to identify who these men where carrying. This man was paralyzed. He could not move. His nervous system was not functioning. He had no feeling or muscle control. It cause by damage to the spinal cord (center of your nervous system). It was said to be incurable. You not might know anybody who is physically paralyzed but you do know somebody who is spiritually paralyzed. They can’t feel or touch because their spirit was damage and nobody had a cure. But I stop by to tell you that there is a cure for those who have become paralyzed spiritually. Jesus could make them feel and move again! But we as a church must make this our prime objective to lay those in need before Jesus. But don’t worry if you can’t do it physically, you can do it by the power of prayer!
To make a difference, the church must have a clear objective. But don’t think fulfilling this objective is going to be easy. How many of you know it is difficult enough for you yourself to get in the presence of God but to get others in His presence. Look at verse 19a. “And they could not find how they might bring him in…because of the crowd. These men could not get the one who really needed help to Jesus because of the crowd. You might be saying “what is so bad about a crowd around Jesus? But not every crowd is a congregation. I pray that you are here this morning not because of the crowd but because of the congregation of the King. Look who was in this crowd Pharisees and teachers of the law. They were the religious and professional folk who questioned who Jesus really was and not because of relationship. It is the crowd that hinders any entrance to get the help they need. There are people in your life who are an obstacle for you to get someone to Jesus that really needs him (boyfriend, Christian). The Pharisees by nature were obstacles. The word “Pharisee” means to divide or to separate. There will always be people in a crowd that there goal is to divide and separate you from getting to Jesus. But because of this crowd these men could not get their paralytic friend to Jesus. But they had an objective and they were determined. Where there is a will there is a way. These men did not have to fight to get in. They did not argue with bouncer. They did have to pay anybody. They got creative to get their friend into the presence of God. This leads us to our next point.
For the church to make a difference, the church may have to come up with some original methods to meet needs. They did something probably was unheard of to get to God. Look at the text in 19b. Since they could not get in, they had an idea. They would go up on the roof of the house and remove the tile and lower the man right in front of Jesus. There are going to be times that the church can’t use an aggressive approach to get someone to Jesus due certain circumstances. You got to be creative and come up with an original idea to get that need met. So these men demonstrated teamwork and ingenuity to get the job done. Think about this challenge of coordinating this effort so nobody else would get hurt. They had to work together for a common goal. This is what the church should do to make a difference in people lives. But our problem is nobody wants to work together. We want to select who we work with and who we are going to help. When we act like this we make it about us and not about Jesus. But it is never about you. It is about bring others into the presence of God to get blessed.
These men teach us that there is more than one way to skin cat. Sometimes you have to maneuver through some stuff. We live in an age that is not going to get to Jesus by the old methods. We have to be original. The message doesn’t change. But our methods have to be original. This starts with faith. Faith sees ways that are not normally seen in the natural. Faith sees the impossible becoming possible. These men saw a way and moved into action believing it was going to work. If the church is going to make a difference in the live of people, we have to operate on a higher level of faith. We have an objective which is our vision and have to move toward it by any means necessary knowing when we do, it shall come to pass! Why? Because we got where Jesus was!
These men’s desperate attempt was noticed by Jesus himself. This leads us to our next point, observation in verse 20. When nobody else sees your faith, Jesus does and He will reward you! Look at the text. When he saw their faith, he spoke to the paralytic and said, Man your sins are forgiven. He saw their faith and blessed the one who they cared about. This is what happens when the church attempts to make a difference. Jesus steps in! The one’s you are trying to help will be blessed through your faith. Your faith may be responsible for somebody else’s salvation. Jesus wants to see your faith so that family member will be saved etc…! God is observing our faith. Tap your neighbor and tell them God is watching! He is looking for somebody who has faith. It pleases God when we have faith and moves Him into action and somebody is going to blessed!
But if Jesus’ observation was so keen, how come He did not focus on the man’s ailment? How come he didn’t heal him first? I want to go on record and say he did heal him first. He healed his soul. That was most important. Jesus dealt with the inward need first. You can be healed in your body while soul is going to hell. What is more important to you?
This forgiveness of sins suggests that is ailment was a result of sin in his life. If the truth be told all of us got into some stuff that hurt us because of sin. It may not have been as severe as paralysis but it still hurt us. You worried yourself sick because of sin. You drank yourself into a stupor because of sin. Unplanned pregnancy was result because of sin. You got shot and cut because of sin. But not all sin has physical effects on you. Your physical condition may not change but your heart will be right and that is what God wants most! Not only did Jesus observe their faith of these men, he observed something in the scribes and the Pharisees. The text says that they began to reason, saying “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus expresses his “Godness” by showing that he is Omniscience, all knowing in verse 22. Jesus perceived their thoughts. Ps. 94:11 says that the Lord knows the thoughts of man. Look at your neighbor and tell them “he knows what you are thinking”. There are going to be people that are not going to believe what Jesus is doing. Just like in the text. The scribes and the Pharisees did not believe Jesus could forgive certain sins. They may not say it but it is in their hearts. I may not see it. You may not see it. But Jesus knows it! And you can’t fool him. Look at what he says in verse 22b. “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?” They were questioning Jesus’ ability. Then in verse 23, Jesus challenges them saying “Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or to say “rise up and walk?” This leads us to our last point.
When we are focus on making a difference in the lives of others, God honors our efforts and shows us His Omnipotence. He is all powerful. In verse 24, Jesus tells the scribes and the Pharisees “But that you may know…”He says the paralytic man, arise, take up your bed and go home!” In verse 25, it says that he immediately rose up and took what he has been laying. What Jesus spoke a word to him enabled him to take control over what he was depending on. Many of us having been depending on certain things to give us comfort, but a word from gives you authority over your dependence. The text goes on to say that he went home glorifying God. He walked home with a praise. And all that were around were amazed about what they witness and were filled with fear saying, “We have seen some strange things”.
Close: The word strange in this text is “paradoxas”. This is where we get the word paradox from. It means that they had an experience with the something different from what they were use to. It means that they experienced something that was contrary to opinion and popular belief. It means it was uncommon, unexpected, incredible, extraordinary and wonderful on that day. They experienced a teaching that was contradicted popular opinion. They experienced extraordinary love by people that care about somebody in need. They experienced the remarkable power of God. They experienced unexpected forgiveness of sins. They experienced wonderful praise of all those with witness a miracle. It was something different from people who wanted a difference from a God who makes all the difference. Jesus makes a difference when we want a difference. I just have to get them to Jesus!! How with faith, worship, prayer, love