Jesus Heals the Paralyzed Man
“Don’t you know I am paralyzed?” quipped a spunky five year old to her therapist. “Yes, I know,” laughed her therapist. A once “normal” two year old now three years later still wheelchair bound after a viral infection damaged her cervical spinal cord: A condition known as Transverse Myelitis. She is really too smart for her own good and a bit more manipulative than most five year olds. Behind her dancing, sparkling eyes is a mind full of mischief! If she were not confined she would be a handful for her Mama. Her smile could melt a frozen heart!
Will she one day understand how Jesus can sympathize with her? He too was paralyzed as He hung on Calvary’s cruel, rugged cross. Bound by nails to the tree. Chest muscles: the pectorals paralyzed and the intercostals unable to expand and contract making breathing nearly impossible and leading to asphyxiation. Joni Eareckson Tada reminded a crowd of thousands at a Billy Graham Crusade of this many years ago when she told the audience “Jesus was paralyzed on the cross by our sins,” and she also said “I would rather have Jesus confined to this chair than be standing without Him.” Think about that statement. It is mind boggling to those of us upright and walking around freely.
Jesus wondered if His Father had forgotten Him just as this young chick wondered if the one asking her to move had taken leave of her senses. Jesus too, asked a question: “Why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) It is scary to be alone and unable to move; dependent on others for your activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, toileting, getting from one place to another. Scary to be alone, naked and dying.
Paralyzed is defined as the “inability to feel or move all or part of the body.” Words like “handicapped, disabled, immobilized, incapacitated” are used to explain the condition. Many things paralyze us: Fear. Poverty. Physical, mental, emotional disability. Incarceration. Crucifixion. Crucifixion was torture and execution by fixation, an inability to move, using iron nails to secure hands and feet to a cross consisting of a stipes (the vertical pole) and a patibulum (the horizontal beam) with a titulus or sign signifying the crime or identity. On the back of this little doll’s chair are her initials letting the world know who she is.
I know others confined now to a chair, to their homes, and/or a nursing home. I bet you know someone too. Can we look past their physical condition and see the image of God fixated? No matter the physical condition of the one bound, the image of the invisible God is all over them. (Genesis 1:27) Sheer Beauty! Jesus when He saw the lame, the blind, the deaf, and those too sick to move, He was moved with compassion. He reminds us their infirmity is not because of their sin or the sin of their parents but to DISPLAY THE GLORY OF GOD! (John 9:1-3) Does it get any better than this as a purpose for your life? Yes, I believe this little stick of dynamite will come to know Jesus and “Oh, the places she will go,” to quote Dr. Seuss. She may just be the next generation’s Joni, spreading hope, encouragement, faith, love, and services to other families like hers.
The munchkin’s therapist will often shoot me a picture or a text while doing therapy. The caption always reads: “I saw God today!” The miracles are sometimes very small and seemingly insignificant unless it is your child or your body. A pinkie moved a millimeter on command. A “Goldfish” is retrieved and eaten from a tray “all by herself.” A ventilator is slowly discontinued and breathing resumes naturally. But sometimes the miracles are huge: like when she pedals her tricycle all by herself outside in the fresh air and sunshine! (No we are not breaking any HIPPA laws, we have permission!) Doctors give parents worse case scenarios to help prepare them for a future they had never envisioned. But God! He created these bodies to live forever and all the information needed to heal is encoded in our DNA. We have only to look to Him!
Rachel’s story of courage. Never give up https://youtu.be/DIDDEcwo7ys
Here is a heads up for those of you who are rarely around children in motorized wheelchairs: THEY BELIEVE THEY ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! They may not be able to walk but they can sure manipulate a joystick just fine! So, you might want to move over! They are paralyzed but their chair is not. Our Jesus was paralyzed but His purpose and power were not! He came to set the “captives” free and He will do just that! (Luke 4:18, Revelation 21:4) Heaven will have no wheelchairs, no crutches, no hearing aids, no blind canes, no hospitals. (John 11:4) Nurses, doctors, therapists, psychologist, technicians, mobility and bracing experts will all be out of a JOB! We will be paralyzed no more by fear or physical ability! (I John 4:18) “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” (quote from Dr. Martin Luther King)
Joni Erickson Tada I’d Rather Be In A Wheel Chair Knowing Jesus
https://youtu.be/g1kjbYPGMBE Joni Eareckson Tada