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A Community of Healers

• Annie Perdue-Olson

There are a number of popular songs that mention the importance and need for a caring community. Songs like “Stand by Me” or “You’ve Got a Friend” mention relying upon each other in a time of need. They also demonstrate how good things can happen to individuals who “get a little help from their friends.” In the Luke 5:17-26 passage, we see an account of Jesus healing someone, and a clear example of a caring community that desired to help bring healing and wholeness to their friend.

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There are a number of popular songs that mention the importance and need for a caring community. Songs like “Stand by Me” or “You’ve Got a Friend” mention relying upon each other in a time of need. They also demonstrate how good things can happen to individuals who “get a little help from their friends.” In the Luke 5:17-26 passage, we see an account of Jesus healing someone, and a clear example of a caring community that desired to help bring healing and wholeness to their friend.

In today’s passage, Jesus was teaching in a house that was crowded full of people. It seemed like everyone wanted to see Jesus and hear his teaching. Some important Jewish religious leaders, who were suspiciously watching Jesus’ activity, were there as well. Those were huge obstacles for anyone who wanted to see Jesus for a healing. Now, there were some people who were carrying a paralyzed man to see Jesus for healing. Upon seeing that they could not get the paralyzed man in the house through the door, the man’s companions had the creative idea of taking the roof off of the house and lowering the paralytic right in front of Jesus. Talk about bold! They so trusted in Jesus’ ability to heal that they were willing to go to great, unconventional lengths to get the paralytic to him. Jesus saw the faith demonstrated in their ambitious actions, and said to the man that his sins were forgiven. Visibly upset at this declaration, the religious leaders said that Jesus was speaking incorrectly about the way God works; that only God can forgive sins. Jesus used this opportunity to teach an important lesson about God’s Kingdom and his authority as Messiah. By declaring the forgiveness of sins to the paralyzed man, he effectively expanded the reach of God’s forgiving grace beyond Jerusalem’s temple. This was scandalous to say the least. And he was laying a lot on the line. Jesus was basically saying that the healing works that he had been doing were also signs of God’s authority upon him to heal people spiritually (through the forgiveness of sins) as well as physically. Jesus then healed the paralytic and everyone praised God.

The first thing we notice is that if it were not for the companions of the paralyzed man, nothing would have taken place. It was through the faithful actions of his companions that the paralytic was able to see Jesus. Because of their problem solving, combined with their faith in Jesus, the impossible became possible. Within our own lives today, a loving community can also come around us and help us to see possibilities for our lives that we might not have seen before because of our suffering and pain.

Second, we notice that the healing that Jesus provided for the paralytic was not the type that people expected. Jesus showed that he not only had the power to physically heal people by the power of God, but that he also has the authority to spiritually heal people as he mediated forgiveness by that same power. Jesus not only cares about the physical, but he also cares about the spiritual and emotional. As followers of Jesus, we know that divine healing is not just about physical restoration. It is about emotional healing from longstanding wounds and spiritual reconciliation with God.

Putting these ideas together, we see a great example that shows us how a loving, caring community can actually be the means for those they care for to be brought closer to the Supreme Healer! As we continue to live in God’s grace and truth…and we commit to do so in healthy community…we can begin to see episodes of transformation and forgiveness, just like the companions of the paralytic. As we lift one another up in prayer and loving deed, we make more avenues to see concrete activities of God’s love towards each other. Though some healing may be physical, many expressions of healing will be emotional and spiritual. And the joy of seeing transformation in the midst of pain helps to encourage a community of healers to continue on the helpful, but challenging path.

Here is a “Community Declaration” that truly spells out what we believe as members of the Body of Christ:

“We are joined together as one body by your Spirit. When one rejoices we all rejoice and when one suffers we all suffer. By our perseverance through obstacles, we demonstrate our love for one another and our faith in the one who heals. We come together today as a community of healers to support and strengthen one another in our common quest for healing and wholeness.”

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Topics: Community, Faith, Healing


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 5: 17-26; I Corinthians 12: 26-27

    One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

    When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven."

    The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

    Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today."

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