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Thoughts on "When Jesus saw their faith..."

healing faith salvation paralytic intercession

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 06:04 PM


The account of the paralytic being lowered through the roof, forgiven, and physically healed is given in the three synoptic Gospel accounts:

Saint Matthew 9:2-8
Saint Mark 2:2-12
Saint Luke 5:17-26

In contrast to the Gospel according to Saint John, where a paralytic has no man to lower him into the pool when the waters are stirred, these accounts show Jesus acting in response to His witnessing the faith of the paralytic's friends: "When Jesus saw their faith..."


This "their" may or may not include the faith of the paralytic himself, but certainly includes the faith of the friends at least.  Through their effort and hope, the paralyzed one is brought to God, lowered down into the crowded house in order that he might be healed by the true Living Water.


This seems to be an image of intercession, where the friends set the man and his troubles before the eyes of Christ, knowing His authority and ability to heal (spiritually and physically).  It calls to mind such things as the pious, multitudinous prayers for the mother of Saint Phanourios.


This also seems to mirror the relationship parents have to their young children or similar relationships, where though they may not intellectually approach God in the same way right-minded adults might, they are carried to God in loving arms--baptized and communed while being held by a loving other.


This can also be related to the oft-quoted Saint Seraphim's remark on acquiring the Spirit of Peace.  Through the strong faith of the paralytic's friends and their recognition of Jesus' annointing by the Spirit, he too is absolved of his spiritual and physical diseases.


These verses of course also challenge the Pharisees' judgement against Christ's so-called "blasphemy" of forgiving sins, displaying the Son of Man's power when He raises the paralytic by a mere word.  But what else can we draw as Orthodox Christians by the specific actions of the friends here, about their opening of the roof, their cleverness of finding an unexpected way in, their visible faith?  Any thoughts on this or patristic texts which discuss the story?  I would love to meditate more on this one.  Thank you.

Edited by Peter Simko, 27 November 2013 - 06:12 PM.

#2 Kusanagi


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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:12 PM

St Nikolai Velimiroch's homilies books are for each Sunday of the year

#3 Lakis Papas

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 02:04 PM

1) Faith, in the above passage refers to an active belief. It is not just a faith of expectations, but a faith that becomes a driving force enabling those who believe to act correspondingly. 
Christ, somehow, is obliged to proceed in accordance with the request of the faithful. Could anyone imagine Jesus leaving the paralyzed incurable after this incident? It is not only the effort of the supporting group that forces Christ to respond. Mainly it is the confident of the persons who act that they do not tire themselves in vain. We might say, by the time the paralytic was brought in front of Christ, the miracle was already a fait accompli.  
This does not mean that Christ had to do something He did not want. It means that the redemptive action of Christ was in harmony with the human operations of the supporting team. Then, Christ's actions are not interventional, they are perfective. Christ completes what people can not do. But at the same time, people are offered wholeheartedly and actively to accept what Christ has to offer.
The laborious task to overcome the obstacles in approaching Christ, and the inventiveness of the way to do it, are evidence that the faith in the expected healing of Christ was not just a strong expectation or a great hope, but it was an inspiring certainty.
2) The common belief in those years was that paralyzed people were found in their situation because of their sins. Christ first forgives the sins of the paralyzed, then heals him physically, so that Christ's accusers might not find any reason to bring charges against Him - otherwise He would be accused for healing a sinner.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: healing, faith, salvation, paralytic, intercession

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