Walking with Friends
The Paralyzed Man & his Friends
1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 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, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Also see: Matthew 9:1-8 & Luke 5:17-26
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Share fun story about you and one of your best friends, when something unexpected happened.
“Who can you lift?”
Discuss who in the group thinks they can carry someone else. Feel free to try, but you don’t have to.
Activity: Minifig Pass: Place an Lego minifig (or other action figure) on a napkin, and have the group pass the napkin around the groups. After one round, say that they can only use one hand each. After that round, they can only use 2 fingers each. (another round might be on a wet napkin or as a group carry around the room). Come up with some creative ways carrying the action figure, or create an obstacle course for them to carry it over, under and through.
The Bible Study portion of this lesson in broken into 3 sections. The first focused on the friends and the risks they take to b ring their hurting friend toward Jesus. The second section focuses on the healing and the various responses. Finally we will talk about ways we can bring our hurting friends to Jesus.
Read Mark 2:1-12 or Luke 5:17-26
Creative Story Telling
Use one (or more) of these to reinforce the story:
- Animated Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cmppSIQUX4
- Live Action Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyQ6aev6ELg
- Action Bible:
Each section has a list of questions and a short paragraph of exposition (taken from a book of youth lessons called New Testament Resources). Feel free to pick, choose, or create your own discussion questions.
Section 1: A Man and his Friends
- This group of men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. What do you think they hoped Jesus would do for him?
- What was the driving passion of the friends of the paralyzed man?
- What did the friends decide to do when they found they couldn’t get inside the house?
- What risks did the men take who carried the paralytic?
- What obstacles did they face?
- What are the pros and cons of their plan to let their friend down through the roof?
- What did these men’s actions say about their perception of Jesus?
- Do you have many friends who are faithful as the ones in the story? What’s the best things a friend has ever done for you?
- In what ways did the four friend’s faith in Jesus affect the life of the paralyzed man?
- What drastic action would you take to get one of your friends to Jesus for healing?
Say something like:
When the men heard that Jesus was coming to town, they knew they had an opportunity to get their friend to Jesus. They knew this was the only place their friend would get the healing touch he desperately needed. So they decided to take unusually aggressive actions that were sure to raise the eyebrows of the establishment. They might even be ridiculed for their actions, but they didn’t care. They were determined to do whatever it took to get their friend to Jesus.
Section 2: Spiritual and Physical Healing
- Upon seeing the faith of the friends, Jesus forgave and then healed the paralyzed man. How does Jesus connect faith and the power of God?
- After all the effort made by these guys, what do you think the paralysed man thought/felf when the only thing Jesus said was , “My child, your sins are forgiven.?”
- Why do you think Jesus first response was to forgive rather than heal?
- Why were the religious leaders upset when Jesus forgave the man’s sins?
- How did the crowd respond to this miracle?
- Why did the religious leaders get upset with Jesus?
- What was the response of the religious leaders to Jesus healing and forgiving the sins of the man?
- What did the religious leaders learn about Jesus? What did the disciples learn?
- With whom in the story do you most identify? The disciples? The religious leaders? The crowd? The lame man? The friends? Why?
Say something like:
After the man was lowered to Jesus, the first thing Jesus did was forgive the man’s sins. When the religious leaders were upset that Jesus forgave sins (because they believed only God could do that), Jesus said, in effect, “Just so you know I am, in fact, God, I will heal him as well.” Jesus was moved to forgive and heal the man because of the faith of his friends.
Section 3: Bringing Others to Jesus
- In what ways can people see your faith?
- What risks or obstacles have you faced in living out your beliefs?
- Many people need God’s spiritual, emotional, or physical healing. In what ways can you share God’s love are forgiveness with them?
- What are some of the ways that you see your friends/loved ones struggling? In what ways do people you know need spiritual and/or physical healing?
- How can you help bring your hurting friends to Jesus?
- Notice that there is a group of people that bring their friend to Jesus. What are some ways the group can help bring friends to Jesus for spiritual and/or physical healing?
Bring your friends to Christ:
If we truly believe that Jesus can change a person’s life, we should do whatever we need to do to get our friends to him, to the healing only he can bring. We must realize that the amount of effort we put into this is a direct reflection of how much we believe Jesus can help our friends. How willing are you to do whatever it takes to get your friends next to Jesus?
Personal Prayer or Prayer Partner
Spend a few minutes in quiet reflection, thinking of your friends and what you could do to bring them to Christ. Then spend a few more minutes in silent prayer, asking God for the motivation and courage to follow through on those ideas.
Group Prayer (Prayer Requests)
Instead of asking for prayer requests, then having someone pray for each person, open the group in prayer inviting Jesus to bring spiritual and spiritual healing. Then have each group member share about a friend (or loved one, or themselves) who need Physical or Spiritual healing. After each person share say as a group something like “Jesus, we pray for healing.” After the last story wrap it up with an AMEN.
Take Home – Lucado Devotional
Pass out the Devotional from Life Lessons with Max Lucado to your group. Encourage them to take some time this week to read the story and process the Life Lessons and Devotion sections. (You could also do this as a group if you have spare time). View or print the devotional here.