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A Healing Encounter

A Healing Encounter

Josh Masters |

An encounter with Christ reveals His true identity and ability to meet my deepest needs.

Encounters with Christ
Message 4 • A Healing Encounter – The Paralyzed Man
Joshua J. Masters
July 25, 2021


Good morning, Brookwood! I’m so grateful all of you are here today—both onsite and in our Online Campus.

And it’s awesome to have our students join us this morning as well.

Today we’re continuing our summer series called, Encounters with Christ.

Each week we’ve been looking at someone in Scripture who had a life-altering encounter with Jesus.

And as J.C. and I planned this series together, our prayer has been for each of US, as a church, to have a life-changing encounter with Christ as well.

This morning’s message is called A HEALING ENCOUNTER, focusing on the paralyzed man in Luke, Chapter 5.

So, go ahead and turn or swipe in your Bibles to Luke 5, and we’ll start in verse 17.

If you’re using the Bible available here at Brookwood, it’s on page 826.

Now, this story takes place toward the beginning of Christ’s public ministry.

He hasn’t even selected all the disciples yet.

But His teaching is starting to draw large crowds, and word is spreading that He’s been casting out demons and healing the sick.

Let’s jump in.

Luke 5:17:
One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.
Luke 5:17 (NLT)

So, the religious leaders have been hearing about this renegade teacher and all the rumors that He has been healing people…

So, they gather from all around the country to come see what’s going on for themselves.

But they’re not coming with an open mind.

The last couple weeks, J.C. and I have talked about the difference between being cynical and being skeptical (or uncertain).
These men are cynical.

But as we can see, they’re in for a surprise because the verse we just read says, “The Lord’s healing power was strong with Jesus.”

Remember, while on earth, everything Jesus did was with the permission of the Father and through the Holy Spirit.

Verse 18:
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach Him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 5:18–20 (NLT)

Now, most of the time when people study this passage, they focus on the faith of these men who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof.

I don’t think that’s the main point of this passage. But it is important, so let’s touch on it here for a moment before we get to the bigger truth.

Who do these guys remind you of?
To me, they sound an awful lot like that good neighbor J.C. taught us about last week.

Like the Good Samaritan, they’re doing whatever’s necessary to help this man—putting aside their own comfort and plans.

They didn’t give up when they hit and obstacle, did they?

When they couldn’t get into the house, they could have said, “Sorry, man. We tried.”
But no.

They kept pursuing an encounter with Jesus.
They didn’t let the chaos of the world stop them.

And there’s the question for us.
Are we willing to continue pursuing an encounter with Jesus when He feels out of reach?
Or are we content to pray for 5 minutes and say, “Well, I didn’t hear anything.”?

Listen, sometimes you’ve got to be willing to dig up some tile if you want to be closer to Christ.

Sometimes, if you want to have an encounter with Christ, you’ve got to fight through the distractions that say ‘you can’t’ and do some digging.

Are you willing to do that?

These men put in effort to encounter Christ…and to help someone else encounter Christ.

And how did Jesus respond to that effort?
It says, He saw their faith in it.

Christ moved in response to the action they took in their faith.

A. Christ responds to faith and He’s able to meet every need.

There’s no doubt, Jesus responds to faith. In fact, Matthew 13 records an encounter where it specifically says Jesus couldn’t do many miracles because of that group’s lack of faith.

So, the faith of these men is a component of what happens next, but we’re about to get to the deeper meaning of this passage.

Let’s read the rest of the encounter and then we’ll break it down. Verse 20:
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does He think He is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
Luke 5:20–26 (NLT)

OK. That’s awesome.
What is this really about?

Last week, J.C. walked us through Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan.

That encounter was designed to reveal something about us and our faith.

J.C. showed us that:

An encounter with Christ reveals MY…
· Attitude.
· Affection.
· Authority.

Well, as we walk through the rest of today’s story, we’re going to continue the outline J.C. started.

Last week we looked at 3 things an encounter with Christ reveals about ME.

Now, in THIS encounter, we’ll continue by looking at 3 things an encounter with Christ reveals about HIM.

(And yes, we’ll make sure all of those start with the letter A as well.)

Here’s the first one:

B. An encounter with Christ reveals He is…
1. All-knowing (able to see my needs).

The first thing we see about Christ in this encounter is that He is all-knowing.

When you have an encounter with Jesus Christ, He is never confused and never surprised.

Does it say anything here about Jesus being shocked when the roof opened, and a man was being lowered into the room?

No… He’s not surprised at all. In fact, the text says, they lowered the man down “right in front of Jesus.”

There’s nothing in Scripture that’s there by accident. Every detail, even the grammar itself is purposeful.

So why is that detail there?
The man was lowered directly in front of Jesus.

Well, think about this: we’re told the men tried to get in the house and couldn’t get in… that means they had no idea where Jesus was in the house when they started digging through the roof, right?

Yet they lower the man right there in front of Christ.

You know why I think that details there?
To show us that the All-Knowing Messiah was directing this encounter from the very beginning.

Jesus saw their need and prepared to meet their need before they knew they had a need.

And right now, Jesus is preparing to meet a need you don’t know you have.

Your encounter with Jesus is prepared for you before you arrive.

And Jesus knows exactly what you need out of the encounter—He sees beyond your wants, beyond your motivations, and beyond your assumptions.

He immediately sees your deepest need.

Verse 20:
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does He think He is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts?”
Luke 5:20–22 (NLT)

A paralyzed man is lowered through a hole the ceiling on a mat because he’s unable to move…

In his mind, what do you think he came to Jesus for?

Physical healing.

But Jesus looks beyond what the man THINKS he needs and addresses his deeper need… a spiritual need.

Some of us are missing out on what God has for us because we’re insisting He fulfill our wants rather than allowing Him to reveal our needs.

Jesus is all-knowing.

Jesus is meeting needs people don’t even know they have. And not just this man.

Who else in the room is He meeting an unknown need for?

Well first, Jesus knew everyone that was going to be in the room that day. They’re not there by accident.

Jesus knew from the beginning of time who would be in that room (Isaiah 46:10).
They’re all there because they need something from this encounter.

--And it’s not a mistake that you’re here today either.
--It’s not a mistake that you students are in here with us today.
--Everyone in this room is here for a purpose beyond your own.

Listen for what God is saying to you.

--So, He sees the deepest need of the paralyzed man.
--He sees the need of the Jewish citizens.

But there’s one more need Jesus meets in that room… and it’s a little more difficult.

Displaying that He’s all-knowing, Jesus reveals He knows what the Pharisees are THINKING.

I love the way Mark describes this moment.

It says:
Immediately, Jesus knew in His Spirit that this is what they were thinking in their hearts, so He asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts?”
(Mark 2:8 NIV)

So, what need of the Pharisees does Jesus meet?


That’s a tougher pill to swallow, isn’t it?

Sometimes our deepest need is correction from the Lord.

Now that we have the Holy Spirit, correction usually comes in the form of conviction—but we don’t usually like it when Christ meets that need in our lives, do we?

The Pharisees needed correction.

Later in the series we’ll look at how Peter needed correction, and although we don’t like it… sometimes we need to be corrected.

When you have an encounter with Christ, He will always see and address your deepest need first.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

We have a monthly gathering here at Brookwood called Transformation Prayer in Caring Communities, where we explore what it means to have a healing encounter with Jesus Christ together in community.

Sometimes we practice Transformation Prayer and other times we just build relationships and learn together.

If you want more information about that, you can reach out to Care Ministries.

But there are times when I go into a time of transformation prayer wanting an encounter with Christ that will address something like my fear of heights…

But Jesus says,
“Actually, let’s look at these feelings of abandonment you have from when your birth-father left.”

Then I’ll respond, “No… that’s okay. I’d rather look at this fear of heights. It’s really inconvenient.”

And Jesus says, “No, that’s not what you need right now.”

Why? Because this other thing is preventing me from growing in Christ.

In fact, whenever I’ve had an encounter with Christ in prayer… it’s never once been what I expected us to look at…

It’s often been something I didn’t WANT to look at. But I come out changed.

The same thing happens in the Celebrate Recovery Step Studies.

Jesus wants to address the need that is the greatest stumbling block in your life—not the comfortable one.

But we have to be willing.

If Jesus is all-knowing, why do we continue to mandate what He does in our lives rather than surrendering to what He knows we most need?

He can bring you healing and meet your deepest needs.

Because He’s not only all-knowing, but…

An encounter with Christ reveals He is…
2. All-powerful (able to meet immediate needs).

Yes, Jesus addressed the paralyzed man’s deeper spiritual need first, but Christ also met his immediate felt need.

Verse 23:
Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God.
Luke 5:24b–25 (NLT)

He doesn’t just see your deepest need. He sees ALL your needs—and He’s able to meet every one of them.

Look at Philippians 4:19.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply [How many of your needs?] all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

The problem we often face is that we confuse our needs with our wants—and that’s because we don’t have the ability to see our circumstances through the lens of eternity.

The question is whether we’re willing to trust Christ’s perfect view of our circumstances rather than trusting our own broken understanding of them.

Are you willing to change the question you’re asking God?

We have a tendency to ask God for something over and over. And if we don’t get a response, we think, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Why isn’t God answering my prayer?

Sometimes it’s because we’re asking the wrong question.

Are you willing to say, “I’m going to stop asking for what I want and start asking God to reveal what I need?”

Sometimes that’s an easy distinction.

I want a Mustang convertible and a Can-Am Spyder motorcycle… or even a Honda Shadow. But, I haven’t woken up to find them in my driveway with a note from Jesus.

That’s because, even in my deepest denial, I know those things aren’t NEEDS. That’s ridiculous.

But when it comes to the health of a loved one, the inability to find a job, or even a sick pet… the lines between wants and needs get pretty blurry, don’t they?

Now, sometimes God WILL give us some of our wants… sometimes we’re blessed with things we don’t need because He is a loving, generous Father.

But in a way, even those things are needs…
Because He fulfills the wants (or withholds them) based on what He knows we need to draw closer to Him.

And sometimes He fulfills seemingly impossible wants just to reveal who He is to us.

In this particular case, this man did need physical healing… probably not for the reasons he thought he did—but to prove to him, everyone in the room, and to the Pharisees exactly who Jesus is.

He is the Almighty God.

An encounter with Christ reveals He is…
3. Almighty (able to meet eternal needs).

He’s not only all-knowing to see our needs, and all-powerful to meet our earthly needs, but He’s also the Almighty who meets our eternal need.

And at its core, THAT’S what this story is about.

It’s not about the faith of the men who lowered this guy through a roof.

That’s just the catalyst for the real purpose of this encounter.

This story is about the identity of Jesus Christ.

Look at the passage closely.
Why did Jesus heal the man’s physical paralysis?

--Yes, I think He had compassion for this man.
--And the text tells us Jesus was responding to the faith of these men.
--But He tells us the more significant reason was to reveal His identity.

Verse 24
(It’s the theme verse at the top of your outline).

Jesus said,
So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
Luke 5:24 (NLT)

Try to imagine this as if you were there…

Jesus is a guest teaching in someone’s house. He’s surrounded by average citizens, Pharisees, and teachers of the law.

Jesus is teaching away when everyone starts getting distracted by small bits of dirt, and mud, and straw start falling from the ceiling, then more, then the sun breaks through… and a man is lowered on a mat directly in front of Jesus.

Then without any surprise, and without asking any questions, Jesus sees their faith and says, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

And the verb Jesus used for the word forgiven, indicates a state of being. So, Jesus is granting the man a new identity as one who is without blame.

And everyone in the room is shocked.
“Blasphemy!” the Pharisees shout, “Blasphemy!”

Now in Jewish Culture, blasphemy was the highest crime against God… and there were three levels of blasphemy (kind of like our murder in the first degree, second degree, or manslaughter).

· The lowest level of blasphemy (which was still considered horrific) was rejecting or speaking evil against the Law of Moses given by God.
· Second degree blasphemy was cursing or speaking evil of God Himself.
· The worst form of blasphemy was claiming to have the same rights and authority as God—to usurp the role of God.

And now, here’s Jesus… claiming to forgive sin.

Verse 21:
But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does He think He is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Luke 5:21 (NLT)

What’s interesting about the way Jesus corrects them is that He doesn’t challenge their definition of blasphemy… because they’re right. Only God can forgive sin.

Instead, Jesus says:
Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?
Luke 5:23 (NLT)

Anyone in the room could say the words, “Your sins are forgiven” but it wouldn’t mean anything because there’s no way to prove it—but who in the room could tell the paralyzed man to get up and walk?

Then Jesus says (Verse 24):
So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
Luke 5:24 (NLT)

The Pharisees say, “Only God can forgive sin,” and Jesus essentially says, “Yeah you’re right about that… but here’s the thing—I am God and I’ll prove it to you.”

And beyond the healing itself, He calls Himself “The Son of Man.”

That’s the title Jesus most often used for Himself. In fact, He calls Himself “The Son of Man” over 80 times in the Gospels.

But here’s a misconception about that title. Many people believe Jesus used that name to show humility and identify with his humanity. But that’s not entirely accurate.

Does anyone know where the title “Son of Man” comes from?

It comes from a vision Daniel had about the victory of God in the final days.

As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One [The Father] and was led into His presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey Him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
Daniel 7:13–14 (NLT)

Jesus humbled Himself in obedience to the Father, but He never humbled Himself in obedience to man.

By calling Himself the Son of Man, Jesus is telling the Pharisees, “I’m the Eternal One. I have authority and sovereignty over everything.”

He doesn’t dispute their claim that God is the only one that can forgive sin.
Instead, He’s claims His authority as God.

Last week J.C. talked about our authority as believers. And He was 100% right, but any authority we have is directly tied to the Almighty authority of Jesus Christ.

These men claimed authority in faith to break open a roof—but Jesus Christ has the authority to break open the heavens.

That’s what Jesus is saying.

And what was the response of those in the room?

Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”
Luke 5:26 (NLT)

What stuck out to me for the very first time is the word ‘everyone.’

In my head, I always imagine the Pharisees going away angry… because that’s what usually happens. But this says everyone.

So I checked Mark... It says “They were ALL amazed”
Matthew says, “the crowd,” including everyone.

Everyone praised God and everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe when an encounter with Christ revealed His identity.

And although “wonder and awe” is an accurate translation, it softens the tone.

The Greek word translated as awe here is ‘phobos.’ It’s where we get the English word Phobia from—it means a reverent fear or terror.

Jesus is the Almighty God of the universe… and when He reveals that—it is more than humbling. It’s terrifying—because you suddenly see yourself in comparison to His holiness.

But that terror didn’t make them cower.
It says they went away praising God.

Do you know why?

They went away praising God because they’d finally experienced God instead of reading about Him or hearing about Him in the Temple.

It changed them.
The fear of God—seeing who He really is, actually leads to peace and security when you realize that terrifying, holy power is working in love to meet your deepest needs.


Don’t raise your hands—but if you’re honest, how many of you are resisting an encounter with Christ because you’re afraid of how it will change you?

Don’t settle for hearing about God when He wants to transform your life and fill it with purpose.

Christ wants to bring you healing. It might be physical healing, emotional, or spiritual… but every human being walks through this life with wounds.

--Listen, if you’re afraid because you don’t know what will happen. That’s okay.
Jesus is all-knowing.

--If you say, I can’t truly go where God wants me to go because I don’t have the resources.
Jesus is all-powerful. He can meet every need.

--Or maybe you think you can’t be close to God because you’re not good enough.
Jesus is Almighty. And the Son of Man has authority to forgive sin and transform lives.

Whether this is the first service, or you’ve been sitting in church for 40 years…

Whether you’re one of our students or your 80 years old, you can be healed and transformed.

And if you want to take those steps, we’ll have pastors and care volunteers down front and in the Care Connection Room to answer your questions and pray with you.

In our Online Campus, click the “Speak to a Pastor” button in your chat window.

Whatever the distractions are in your life, it’s time to tear up some tiles.

Let’s start digging… together.

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