Luke Series- Session 10- Luke 5:16-26




  • I saw something very disturbing on my news feed this week.  I have been having to do some heart work because of it.  Look at this.
  • Kevin Ritchey put up a post online that said,
  • It is Superbowl Sunday, and if you are rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, I forgive you.  That is wrong but I will not hold it against you.
  • I have been supporting the TB Bucs since they were in the popsicle stick uniforms back in the early 90’s.
  • This would be our second Super Bowl win.
  • And yet, out of the goodness of my heart, if you support the chiefs, you are forgiven.
  • All kidding aside, we all understand something unique about forgiveness.
  • If you have sinned against someone and you seek their forgiveness, and then someone else offers forgiveness on their behalf, you instinctively know that this is not forgiveness really at all.
  • If I did something to really offend my wife, and my brother-in-law heard about it, called me up and said “Don’t worry, Ben.  I forgive you.”  We would know that this was not enough for the kind of restoration that is needed between my wife and me.


  • What you and I need to understand is that all sin is at its core a sin against God.
  • God made man in His image.  He loves mankind corporately and individually.
  • When we sin against those He loves, it is against Him.
  • At the core of this mornings message is this idea of forgiveness.  Who can forgive us?
  • Does Jesus have the authority to forgive sins?
  • This question therefore is tied very directly with Jesus’ identity.
  • What have we learned about Jesus so far in this series?
    • He fulfilled the prophecy about the birth of the messiah- where, when, and how.
    • He was announced by angels to Mary, Joseph, and the Shephard’s.
    • He was confirmed by Anna and Simeon that He was the Messiah.
    • He was announced by John the Baptist who called people to prepare the way for the Messiah through repentance.
    • He was rejected by His hometown when he claimed to be the fulfilment of the Prophecy in Isaiah that said He was coming to preach the gospel to the poor, set free the captives, bring sight to the blind, set at liberty those that are bruised and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  They tried to kill Him, and He got away.
    • He demonstrated His control of the natural world by causing His disciples to catch boatloads of fish in the middle of the day.
    • He was recognized by those disciples as God.
    • He and his disciples are contrasted with the pharisees over and over again.
  • In today’s text, Jesus claims the right to forgive sins, identifies Himself as God, and demonstrates that both of these claims are true.
  • Jesus not only has the right, but also has the power to forgive sin!
  • We see in this text 4 responses to these claims, and in today’s service you will have one of these 4 responses.

Today, you will respond to Jesus offer of forgiveness.  Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.


“(16)  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

  • Jesus had been preaching and healing.
    • He had just healed a leper by touching him in verses 12-16.
    • People were coming from everywhere to be healed.
  • So, we see Him coming away to spend time with God.
  • Jesus here gives us an example of balance in ministry.  There were times that He was giving out, but there were also times of fellowship with God that He prioritized.

Response #1- Observation. V.17-

“(17) And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

  • First, there were the crowds of people. 
    • There were people there to hear Jesus’ teaching.
    • There were people there to see Jesus perform some miracle.
    • Some no doubt wanted to be healed themselves.
    • Notice that they were from every town of Galilee (Northern Israel), and Judaea (southern Israel) and Jerusalem (the main city of Judea and Jerusalem).Map

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    • Jesus’ ministry was attracting the attention of people from a large region and from the most “important” places.
  • Next, there were the “Pharisees and doctors of the law”.
    • These were men who had devoted themselves to study.  Many of them would have been “rabbi’s” themselves, with their own disciples. 
    • Yet they were not attracting to themselves the kinds of crowds that Jesus was attracting.
    • These men did not believe that Jesus was who Jesus claimed to be.  They did not see Him as Messiah.
    • What is sad is what is said about Jesus in regard to them in verse 17, when it says, “and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”
    • Not everyone there needed physical healing, but everyone there needed forgiveness.


  • Everyone that needs Jesus do not know that they need him.
  • The pharisees did not acknowledge their need for a Savior, yet the power of Lord was present to heal them. 
  • The forgiveness of God is sufficient for the whole world, but it is only efficient to those who recognize their need and call on the Lord for forgiveness.
  • The crowds were there to observe what Jesus was doing and saying.  Yet knowing about Jesus and even believing that He exists is not enough.
  • It is not enough to just acknowledge his historicity and his notability.
  • We must warn people and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to every man.

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

(18)  And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.


Notice the paralyzed man.

  • The verse describes the man as “in a bed” and “taken with the palsy”. 
    • This would have been someone who had no ability to get up and walk. 
  • The theology of the day taught that people in that condition were that way because of their sin or the sin of their parents. 
  • Where our culture tends to show compassion to the disabled at some level, showing compassion to the disabled in this culture would have been seen by the religious elite as going against God, since God was “obviously judging” this person. 
  • This could be why when the man came to the house filled with at least some level of the religious leadership class, they were kept out.  No one deferred to them.
  • Is it possible that the man was in the state he was because of sin?  Of course! 
    • There are times when our suffering comes because of our own sin. 
    • Still at other times, we suffer because of those who have sinned against us. 
    • Sometimes our suffering comes because we live in a world marked by sin. 
  • This man had sins in his life, and this will be made clear from the story.
  • We will see as we move forward that this man saw an opportunity not only for healing but for forgiveness.

The men who carried him

(19)  And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

  • The gospel of Mark tells us how many of these men there were. 

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

Mark 2:3

  • These men believed that if they brought their friend to Jesus, that Jesus could do something for Him. 
  • Did the man plead with these men to bring him?  
  • Were these men strangers that heard his pleas, neighbors, family members, or people from his past life? 
  • We could speculate, but we do not know. 
  • What we do know is that they were tenacious. 
  • When people would not let them into the house through the normal means, they went to the roof.
  • Roofs in those days were flat.  They often served as a porch for people to go on and sit in the cool of the evening. 
  • Access to the ceiling would often be made by stairs built on the side of the house to go up. 
  • So, you can just see these four men, each with their corner, carrying their friend to the front door, people denying them entry, and one of them saying, “Up to the roof!”.  They get to the top. 

“Now what?”. 

“Let’s lower him to Jesus.” 

“Are you serious?  You want to rip open the roof?  What about the owner?” 

“I’ll pay him back or fix it myself.  It is worth a shot.  What if Jesus heals him?”

“Alright.  Good thing this ceiling is tile.”

“You guys be careful with me!”

  • So, they start ripping off the tile, and then they attach ropes, and begin to lower the man in right in front of Jesus.
  • Notice the faith of all of these guys. 
  • It is a pretty simple idea, but it is profound. 
  • The paralytic man was willing to let these four people carry him to Jesus and lower him through a roof. 
  • He was willing to be seen by all of these religious and good people who thought he was a sinner and may well have been right. 
  • He was willing to take the chance that Jesus would confront him about his sin and not forgive him. 
  • He was even willing to be lowered through a roof. 
  • The men were willing to take the chance, make the effort, and pay the price maybe even for the roof to get their friend to Jesus. 
  • Why? 
  • They saw the opportunity.
  • They believed that Jesus could do something for this man that they could not do themselves. 
  • They believed that Jesus could do something for this man that no one else could do.


  • What you believe about Jesus is paramount. 
  • These men had the faith to go to Jesus for what they needed. 
  • They recognized their need for Jesus, and it drove how they saw their circumstance. 
  • Does the condition of the roof matter now to the paralyzed man?  No way.  The roof is long gone.   But His sins, as we will see, are forgiven today and He is in heaven with Christ.
  • When we believe Jesus is the Son of God that can forgive sins, we will see our world differently and respond accordingly. 
  • We will respond in faith and go to Jesus ourselves first. 
  • We will do whatever it takes to get our people to Jesus.


  • Are you looking for hope outside of Jesus, or apart from Jesus?  Go to Jesus by faith!
  • Who is someone that you need to get to Jesus?  How can you help him get to Jesus today?

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

Response #3- Objection

(20)  And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.


  • We see multiple miracles in this narrative.  Jesus has the ability to know what a person is thinking and feeling.  We see this both with the paralytic man, his friends, and with the scribes and Pharisees. 
  • Jesus sees the man’s faith and his desire for forgiveness. 
  • When the paralytic man is lowered into the room right in front of Jesus, He offers the man forgiveness. 
    • Without faith it is impossible to be forgiven, and this man is coming not just for physical healing.  He is coming for forgiveness.

(21)  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

Luke 5:20-21

  • This brings up the question that is central to the point of this narrative. 
  • Jesus also sees the thoughts of the hearts of the pharisees and scribes. 
  • Here they object to Jesus’ claim.
  • They are right in one sense and very wrong in another. 
  • They are right in their assertion that only God can forgive sins. 
    • That is correct. 
    • God is the only one who can forgive sins. 
  • They are wrong in their assertion that what Jesus said was a blasphemy. 
    • They are assuming that it is blasphemy because they do not believe that He is God. 
    • Jesus is stating clearly that He is God.
  • This story contrasts the kind of person that goes away forgiven, and the kind of person that does not.  Jesus says later in chapter 5 to the pharisees,

“(31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.  (32)  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Luke 5:31-32

  • The pharisees do not see themselves as spiritually sick. 
    • They do not see themselves as those who need forgiveness. 
    • Even if they did believe that they needed forgiveness, they certainly did not believe that Jesus could do anything to forgive them.
  • The paralytic is just the opposite. 
    • He knows he needs forgiveness. 
    • He knows he needs healing, and he believes that if he got to Jesus, Jesus could do something about it.

Luke 5:22

(22)  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?  (23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?


  • Not only did Jesus see the heart of the paralytic man, but He also saw the hearts of the pharisees. 
  • They had the right idea that no one could forgive sins but God. 
  • What they were wrong about is their assessment of Jesus. 
    • They had heard about His miracles. 
    • No doubt they had heard about rumors of Him being born of a virgin. 
    • No doubt they had heard that John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Messiah. 
  • They had heard about and may had even seen some of His miracles. 
  • The fact was that they did not want to believe. 
  • They refused to identify Jesus as even someone sent by God, much less God in the flesh.
  • To challenge their wrong thinking Jesus asks a great question. 

“(23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” 

  •  What is the answer to that question? 
    • Both are equally difficult to do for mere men. 
    • We do not have the capacity to forgive sins or to command healing in sick people. 
  • Yet, that was not the question.  The question was “which is easier to say?”. 
  • Clearly, it is easier to say “your sins be forgiven you” because it is unproveable whether a person’s sins really are forgiven. 
    • If I say to a handicapped person, “Get out of your wheelchair and walk”, either they do or they do not.  It is instantly provable.
  • For this man to be healed it had to effect brain, muscle, blood flow, muscle memory, bone and probably much more physiologically. 
    • When we see people in rehab learn to walk again when the chances are severely slim, we see that as incredible.  For this paralytic to be fully, instantly healed would be a miracle.

 (24)  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

  • Jesus tied His authority to forgive sins to His authority to heal. 
  • There is a connection to those things. 
  • The reason that there is sickness at all is because of the presence of sin. 
  • For God to ultimately heal us he had to deal with our sin problem. 
  • “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” 
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  • Those who die in Christ will be ultimately healed and given a glorified body because their sins have been forgiven by God. 
  • Those whose sins are not forgiven will go to the eternal death.
  • In this instance, Jesus is essentially making the claim that if he can do the harder thing to say, then He has the authority to do the easier thing.  If He can heal the man, He can forgive sins.   
  • Ultimately, that claim is tied to who He is.  Jesus is claiming to be God. 
  • In verse 24 He calls Himself “the Son of man”.  This title is not only Messianic, but also a claim to deity. 

(13)  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

(14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

  • The “Son of Man” in Daniel’s vision is the one to whom dominion of an everlasting, eternal kingdom is given. 
  • It is at once a reference to the person’s deity and their humanity.  The only one who can fulfill that title is Jesus Christ!  This is who Jesus was claiming to be.  This is who Jesus is! 
  • Jesus Christ can forgive sins because He is both God and man.  He came to die and will reign forever.
  • It is with this authority that He looks at the paralytic and says, “So you know that I have the power on earth to forgive sins, Arise, take up your bed and walk.”


  • The forgiveness of sins is tied both to the authority of Jesus to forgive sins, and our response of faith to Jesus to believe.  If we do not think we need forgiveness, or if we do not believe that Jesus can forgive, we will not be forgiven. 
  • If you are going through something difficult physically today, know that ultimately those who trust in Christ as Savior will be healed.   If you are enduring pain in this life, there is a reason for it.  Do not waste this side of eternity.  Use your life, even through your pain, to make a difference for Christ now!

Notice the 4 responses to Jesus’s power to forgive.

Response #1- Observation

Response #2- Opportunity

Response #3- Objection

Response #4- Acceptance

(25)  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.


  • When Jesus healed, He healed completely. 
  • Think about all that had to happen for this man to be healed. 
    • Muscle and bone had to regenerate. 
    • Memories in the brain that helped the brain remember how to walk had to come to pass. 
    • This man was completely and fully healed. 
    • He did not get up walking slowly, limping or bent over. 
    • He got up.  He picked up His bed.  He went home. 
  • The whole time he went he was glorifying God.  Worship was happening.
  • Now remember, Jesus had tied the healing to His ability and authority to forgive sin. 
  • Jesus forgives sin just like Jesus healed. 
  • He healed completely, and He forgives completely. 
  • By healing this man, He proved that He can forgive sin. 
  • He proved that He was God.
  • Notice the reaction of the crowd. 

(26)  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

  • They were amazed.  They glorified God. They were filled with fear. Jesus proved to these people that Jesus could forgive sin. 
  • In fact, if you remember, the passage said in verse 17 that the power of God was present to heal them. 
  • The forgiveness that was available to the man was available to them. 


  • God’s forgiveness is available to you, today. 
  • He has the authority and the power to forgive.  He wants to forgive.  We must go to Him by faith and seek His forgiveness. 
  • Have you accepted God’s free gift of salvation?  Ultimately Jesus made the forgiveness of our sin possible by taking the judgement and sin of the whole world on Him.  “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”  
  • The scripture says in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10


  • Forgiveness is fully and finally available in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Call in Him today for salvation.  Confess your sin today and be cleansed.  Believe on Him and be healed. 


What is your response today?

  • Are you just an observer, seeing the evidence and doing nothing about it?
  • Do you see Jesus Christ’s offer of forgiveness as an opportunity for yourself and those around you?
  • Are you objecting to Jesus as Savior, Forgiver and Lord?
  • Are you ready to accept Him today as Savior?

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