When the Roof Starts Falling In (Part II)


Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body as a holy and living sacrifice to you. 

Jesus, We belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Luke 5:20–26 (NIV)

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.”


Previously, on When the Roof Starts Falling In, the “Friends are Friends Forever” four got word Jesus was in town and rather than claim their seats, their impulse was to run and get their fifth friend—the man who was paralyzed—and bring him to the meeting with Jesus. By the time they arrived, it was packed out; no room in the inn. Stunningly, they were not diverted. Likely one of them (there’s always one) had the bold idea of creating an alternative entrance—they created a door through the roof. Who does this? People who love their friend with the love of God do this. When Jesus would later call on his disciples to lay down their life for their friends, this had to be one of those examples. 

Suffice it to say, this was an extraordinary scene with the excavation of the roof and the lowering of a paraplegic to the floor right in front of Jesus. The disruption and damage had to be at least moderately infuriating to the home owner as well as to the crowd—especially the Pharisees. Not Jesus.

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

Did you catch that—When Jesus saw their faith (emphasis mine). It would seem that in order to forgive someone of their sins it would require a showing of the sinner’s faith. And who was even asking for forgiveness anyway? This was one of those caricatures of holiness I referred to yesterday. In those days, the standard assumption of religious folk about a paralyzed or blind or leprous or other outwardly handicapped person was, “Who sinned?” It was a karma-like system. Either this person or his parents had sinned which explained why such calamity had befallen him. You know the old adage, “God has a reason for everything.”

Jesus isn’t having it. He crushes this line of reasoning, upending it with an unsolicited declaration of divine forgiveness. It was as though Jesus were saying, sin had nothing to do with this paralysis. Sure, this man was a sinner just like everybody else, but he had lived who knows how long with the deep shame-based identity that the sin on him was worse than everyone else. He wore his paralysis like a badge of shame, a scarlet letter. That’s what shame does to a person. It turns one’s inmost being into something between a hall of mirrors and a torture chamber. Our vision of ourselves becomes so distorted we will actually contort ourselves to fit the broken image. We think we deserve what we got. We don’t merit love because we are unlovable—not worthy of love. This is the way this whole system works. The leprosy of the skin becomes the leprosy of the heart. The affliction of the body becomes the paralysis of the inmost being.1

When religion moves to separate the body and the soul it has the effect of perpetuating human brokenness.2 It’s why, when it comes to healing, Jesus treats both the inmost being and the outward body. It has taken centuries for the practice of medicine to catch on and sadly, even longer for the church. It’s why the ultimate healers are people who serve in the medical profession as the bona fide agents of Jesus. It’s why in a minute he’s going to ask my favorite Jesus question of all time:

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

Jesus says both and the rest is history. 


Our Father, open the eyes of my heart to behold what you are revealing in this iconic moment of history—Jesus in the house and not the synagogue, Pharisees on the front row and not the temple courts, place packed beyond standing room and a paralyzed man being lowered by friends through the ceiling. And Jesus takes on the whole thing, asking, “Which is easier to say?” Heal the body or heal the soul. And he does something so fantastically beautiful we are still marveling at it. He does both. Holy Spirit, would you interpret this miracle to my deepest soul, into my body and my inmost being. Would you bring me the deep integration of heaven and earth into my very body. That is the miracle I long for. And it’s easy for you. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen. 


How does today’s text and reflection challenge your thinking? How does it encourage your heart? How does it have you thinking about the integration of body and soul? In your own life? What questions does it raise for you? 


Let’s go with “Shine Jesus Shine” again today. Let’s sing the chorus, verse three, and the chorus again. It is hymn 217 in our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.


For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S. Something I’m Excited to Tell You About

Seedbed, along with our partners at Harper Collins Christian (Zondervan) are developing what I believe will be the most significant resource on healing in the last hundred years. We commissioned our favorite theologian, Dr. Steve Seamands, to write a book on the theology and practice of healing in the tradition of Jesus for the church. I can tell you already, the book will be medicinal. We will release it this fall at our New Room Conference. I don’t have any links or further reveals at this point, but will be sharing along the way going forward. In light of the last few days of the Wake-Up Call I just wanted to tell you about it and ask you to begin praying for the powerful seed this work will become for God’s kingdom.


1. Our inner being and our outer body are intricately and inextricably connected. Sometimes the dysfunction and disease impacting our outer body causes the brokenness in our inner being. Other times the brokenness in our inner being causes the sickness in our outer body. Most often it is a messy cycle of intergenerational trauma, pain, shame, disease, shame, pain, trauma and so forth endlessly repeating itself across generations until it has actually become interwoven into our very genetic code (i.e., consider alcoholism) (see also the TLC series, My 600-Lb. Life). 

2. I can hardly wrap my mind around all that is going on in that home on that day. The scribes and Pharisees were there to represent the very system that was destroying people like the paralyzed man and the people covered with leprosy. Their broken bodies had been exiled by the religious leaders from the very presence of God. They were the gate keepers to the presence of God and their way of reading the Law as policy manual re-enforced their rule and preserved their interest, which was their control. All of this was the status quo, until the presence of God—Jesus Messiah, the temple of God—came to them. 


Subscribe to get this in your inbox daily and please share this link with friends.

Share today's Wake-Up Call!


WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. In my opinion, this particular healing at the place and spectators present was to demonstrate the exact principle that Jesus taught his disciples at the occasion of the healing of the blind man from birth (John 9:1-7). “But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” In other words these healings and the exorcisms were to confirm the message that the kingdom of God had long last arrived. Nothing is stated in scripture to say that this would end prior to Jesus’s second coming.

  2. Roof altering (miracle manifesting) interruptions?

    Jesus allowed and even welcomed interruptions when He was speaking. Paul told the body of Christ in Corinth to allow interruptions. “If a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop for you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” Even the formalized religious Pharisees would interrupt Jesus with questions and challenges.

    It seems to me that somehow, over the centuries, churches shut down the freedom to interrupt that Jesus so freely embraced. Without the freedom to interrupt, the Holy Spirit is confined to a program. His leading and serendipity are quenched. The roof always stays nicely fit together and paralyzed men and women stay stationary in their seats.

    I woke up this morning with this thought on my mind: “The body of Christ should be a fountain of many wide-open faucets all freely flowing in God’s Spirit together. Perhaps it’s time that we begin to follow Jesus’ model and to welcome interruptions by seeing them with the eyes of faith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *