What Jesus Did! 'The Greater Need' — Luke 5:21-26

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, "Who is this man (Jesus)? He is saying things that are against God! Only God can forgive sins." But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said, "Why do you have these questions in your minds? The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. But how can I prove this to you? Maybe you are thinking it was easy for me to say, 'Your sins are forgiven.' {No one could see if it really happened.} But what if I say to the man, 'Stand up and walk'? Then you will be able to see that I really have this power." So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, stand up! Take your mat and go home!" Then the man stood up before the people there. He picked up his mat and walked home, praising God. All the people were fully amazed. They began to praise God. The people were filled with much respect {for God's power}. They said, "Today we saw amazing things!"
— Luke 5:21-26
Illustration of Luke 5:21-26 — "Today we saw amazing things!"

Key Thought

Having just received a call about a friend who is terminally ill, this passage is a powerful reminder. So often my perspective has me focus on the physical needs. That is not bad. It moves me to act with compassion. It brings me to my knees in prayer. However, Jesus reminds me in this passage that forgiveness of sin is the greatest need we all have as humans. Forgiveness is the greatest gift Jesus can give us. Spiritual healing, the one that brings deliverance from sin and its guilt, is what we most need. As we look at the people around us, let's not forget what the greatest need in their lives truly is!

Today's Prayer

Eternal and gracious God, my Abba Father, forgive me when I get so distracted by lesser things. Stir me to act with compassion and genuine care toward those with physical needs. Help me also to act passionately with compassion and genuine care toward those around me with the greatest need—the need for your grace and forgiveness. Please give me true spiritual vision to see what needs to be done in the lives of those around me. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. The Lord (God) was giving Jesus the power to heal people. There was a man that was paralyzed (crippled). Some men carried him on a mat. The men tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. But there were so many people that the men could not find a way to Jesus. So the men went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat {into the room} so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. Jesus saw that these men believed. Jesus said to the sick man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, "Who is this man (Jesus)? He is saying things that are against God! Only God can forgive sins." But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said, "Why do you have these questions in your minds? The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. But how can I prove this to you? Maybe you are thinking it was easy for me to say, 'Your sins are forgiven.' {No one could see if it really happened.} But what if I say to the man, 'Stand up and walk'? Then you will be able to see that I really have this power." So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, stand up! Take your mat and go home!" Then the man stood up before the people there. He picked up his mat and walked home, praising God. All the people were fully amazed. They began to praise God. The people were filled with much respect {for God's power}. They said, "Today we saw amazing things!"

Luke 5:17-26

Related Scripture Readings

A person is very happy. when his sins are forgiven. {That person is very fortunate} when his sins are erased. A person is very happy when the Lord says he is not guilty. {That person is very fortunate} he didn't hide his secret sins. God, I prayed to you again and again, but I did not talk {about my secret sins}. I only became weaker every time I prayed. God, you made life harder and harder on me, day and night. I became like a dry, dry land in the hot summertime. SELAH

Psalm 32:1-4

What I say is true, and you should fully accept it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst of those sinners. But I was given mercy. I was given mercy so that in me Christ Jesus could show that he has patience without limit. Christ showed his patience with me, the worst of all sinners. Christ wanted me to be an example for those people who would believe in him and have life forever. Honor and glory to the King that rules forever. He cannot be destroyed and cannot be seen. Honor and glory forever and ever to the only God. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:15-17

Those words were also written for us. God will also accept us because we believe. We believe in the One (God) that raised Jesus our Lord from death. Jesus was given to die for our sins. And he was raised from death to make us right with God.

Romans 4:24-25

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.