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6. Jesus Heals the Paralyzed Man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12)

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Main Point: Only Jesus can forgive our sins.

Key Verse:

“I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” - Mark 2:10

Props: Straw mat, rolled up; Hand-drawn map; drawing of oil change (at end of lesson)

Background/Review (Matthew 8:23-27)

Say: As we’ve traveled around the area of Galilee with Jesus and His new disciples, we have seen Jesus do amazing things. He controlled the savage sea with a simple command. With just a word, Jesus took what was chaotic and brought peace. In the same way, Jesus gave inner peace to the man who once lived with evil spirits. Today we will look at an incredible story that proves Jesus has the authority to forgive sins.

Jesus Heals The Paralyzed Man (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12)

Say: Jesus was born in Bethlehem. When He was very young, His parents moved to Nazareth, in the area of Galilee. Teacher: Refer to PowerPoint map. And when Jesus grew up, He moved to Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, which was foretold by the prophet Isaiah (Matthew 4:13-16). Jesus traveled all over Galilee teaching His truth and healing the sick (Matthew 4:23).

A few days later, Jesus entered Capernaum again. The people heard that he had come home. So many people gathered that there was no room left. There was not even room outside the door. And Jesus preached the word to them.

Four of those who came were carrying a man who could not walk. But they could not get him close to Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole in the roof above Jesus. Then they lowered the man through it on a mat. - Mark 2:1-4

Say: Archaeologists have dug up homes in Capernaum, and found that the largest homes would fit about 50 people in them, if the people were standing really close together. People did not live in homes like ours, with a separate bedroom for each person. There was just one or two rooms where everything took place. So, let’s picture Jesus, packed into a very simple home that was full of people. People spilled out around the front door. They stood on their tiptoes, craning their necks to see Jesus; they leaned into the windows just to hear what Jesus had to say.

Along came four loyal friends, carrying their friend who was paralyzed, or unable to walk. These men had heard about Jesus healing people all over Galilee. They were sure that Jesus could heal their friend, so they carried him to the home where Jesus was. Back then, people did not have thick padded mattresses with big fluffy pillows for a bed. People simply slept on a mat. When it was time to go to sleep, everyone grabbed his or her mat, which was rolled up and tucked away in a corner. Show your mat. Each person unrolled their mat, lay down in the main room, and went to sleep. So the mat that this paralyzed man was lying on was most likely his own “bed.”

Homes at that time did not have roofs like your house or mine. The roofs were made with branches that were laid across the ceiling beams. The branches were packed with mud that dried in the sun. They were sturdy enough to walk on, but could be dug through. Often, there were outside staircases leading up to the rooftops.

When the men approached the house, and saw that the people were packed in like sardines, they knew that the five of them would never make it in through the front door. Now, most people may have given up right there. But these men did not! They were SO SURE that Jesus could heal their friend that they did something drastic. They climbed up onto the roof - still carrying their friend. They dug right through that dried mud roof! Do you think the people who were standing right below where the men were digging started to feel dirt clumps fall into their hair? As the whole got bigger, surely people started to look up to see what in the world was going on.

I believe two of the men probably jumped down through the hole they made, while two men stayed on top. Then the two on top of the roof helped lower the paralyzed man down to the two men who were now in the room. I can just imagine the gasps in the crowd. If there were any kids in the room, they probably started to laugh at this strange sight. Let’s see what Jesus had to say about five men ruining the roof!

Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” - Mark 2:5

Jesus was not at all angry that the men made a hole in the roof! He was thrilled that the men had such great faith in Him, that they wouldn’t dream of going home without getting their friend in front of Him.

The man on the mat was not able to walk. He had come to Jesus to be healed because he was certain that Jesus could heal him. But Jesus saw a need much greater than his paralyzed legs. He saw the man’s sinful heart. God can always see the heart of a person (Luke 16:15). Jesus knew that the man was a sinner, like every man, woman, and child. Jesus knew that the man was separated from God because of his sin (Isaiah 59:2). A person who is separated from God is the saddest sight in the world! Because the men fully trusted Jesus, Jesus gave this man the greatest gift. It was FAR better than making his legs work; it was the forgiveness of his sins. And when Jesus forgave the man’s sins, he became a part of God’s kingdom. He would have new life here on earth, brought back into a relationship with his heaven Father. He would spend eternity with His loving Creator.

Application: It’s important to note that Jesus did not forgive the man because he and his friends had worked so hard to enter the home. No, this was just proof of the faith they had in Jesus. This crippled man knew that he was helpless to help himself. He put his trust in the only One who could heal him.

Doubters (Mark 2:6-12)

Say: Not everyone understood who Jesus was, or how He could claim to forgive sins.

Some teachers of the law were sitting there. They were thinking, “Why is this fellow (Jesus) talking like that? He’s saying a very evil thing! Only God can forgive sins!”

Right away Jesus knew what they were thinking. So He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Is it easier to say to this man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Then Jesus spoke to the man who could not walk. “I tell you,” He said, “get up. Take your mat and go home.”

The man got up and took his mat. Then he walked away while everyone watched. All the people were amazed. They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!” - Mark 2:6-12

Teacher Note: The term “Son of Man” appears in Psalm 80:17, noting the man at God’s right hand, and again in the Messianic prophecy in Daniel 7:13. Daniel 7:14 expounds, “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

Say: Let’s talk about why it was so shocking for Jesus to tell the man that his sins were forgiven. When you and I hear the name of Jesus, we automatically think about love and forgiveness. But at the time of our story, Jesus was new on the scene! He had only been speaking in public for a short time. At this point, very few people knew who He really was.

Ask: Who can tell me how the Israelites (called Jews at this time) atoned for, or covered, their sins? They offered an animal sacrifice. Say: In the rules that God gave to Moses, God said that the Jews had to offer an animal sacrifice. Could they do this just anywhere? No. It had to be done in the Temple. The sin covering had to be done in just the right place, in just the right way. The religious teachers that heard Jesus speak in the house that day knew all about the Temple. They could not believe that Jesus talked about forgiving sins outside the Temple, without an animal sacrifice!

But Jesus had come to proclaim GREAT NEWS! HE was the final sacrifice who would take away the sin of the world! (John 1:29) It was no longer about the sacrifice in the Temple; it was all about HIM!

If I was trying to teach you something that was really hard for you to understand, I might draw you a picture. For instance, if I was giving you directions to my house, I might draw you a map. Teacher: Hold up your map. Or if I wanted to show you how to change the oil on my car, I might draw a picture of the oil filter, the gasket, and the oil pan. Show the oil change diagram. Now, this picture is not the oil change; it just helps you understand how the oil change works.

In the same way, the Temple was a picture for the Jews to understand God’s plan (Hebrews 8:5). In the Temple, the animal sacrifices had to be first-born males, without any flaws. They had to shed their perfect blood to cover the sins of the sinful person. This was a picture of the Savior God was going to send. This was a picture of Jesus. God gave the Temple as a picture that Jesus would come to die as the final sacrifice to take away our sins (Hebrews 9:11).

Jesus said, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. - Matthew 5:17 NLT

Teacher Note: The teachers accused Jesus of blasphemy, of dishonoring God’s name. The Old Testament punishment for blasphemy was death. Even this early in His ministry, the groundwork was being laid for his enemies to plot against Him.

Say: Jesus could read the thoughts of the religious teachers. That should have been proof enough for those teachers to realize that Jesus was no ordinary man! But He decided to give them even more proof of His authority. He gave them something they could see with their eyes (healing the crippled man) to prove that He could do what their eyes could not see (forgive sins). The paralyzed man was carried in that day, but he left leaping for joy. His legs were healed, but more importantly, his heart was made new (Ezekiel 36:26).

Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! - 2 Corinthians 5:17

No doubt, some of the teachers became angry that Jesus had proven them wrong. But those who had eyes to see and ears to hear were amazed and praised the Lord!

Application: The teachers did not understand what Jesus was saying because it was different than what they were used to. But this should not surprise us. Remember, Jesus taught that everything in the Kingdom of God was totally different than the way things were in the world. We must abide in God, and ask Him to help us see with Kingdom eyes. Let’s join with those who walked away in amazement, praising the Lord for the truth of His kingdom.


Key Verse:

“I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” - Mark 2:10


Main Point: Only Jesus can forgive our sins.

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Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum

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