The Power of Healing

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Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
August 2018

Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today

The Power of Healing

Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB

One day as Jesus was teaching…

the power of the Lord was with him for healing.   Luke 5:17

No doubt you have heard the story of the paralytic numerous times. Even so, there is value in returning to a Scripture text and reading it as if for the first time. There is wisdom in approaching each passage that you read as though it is entirely new. That's exactly what I'm asking you to do with this story of the paralytic whose friends creatively collaborate in getting him to Jesus. Many of us have a tendency to read things hastily because we think it's stuff we already know. But I am asking you to look at this stuff as brand new. Since you last read this text, most likely, many events have taken place in your life. In some small way you are not the same person. 

It would be interesting to know what Jesus’ reaction was when he experienced someone coming down through the rafters. With a smile of amazement, was he impressed with the determination of this man’s friends? The first thing Jesus does is to forgive his sins. It’s intriguing to note that the forgiving came before the actual physical healing. Perhaps that says something to which we need to pay attention. 

When we live in the shelter of forgiveness are we perhaps more receptive to other forms of healing? Forgiveness suggests that certain shackles have been removed. Forgiveness, in itself, is a kind of healing.

Our text suggests that Jesus forgives the man’s sins because of the faith of his friends: “When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus was moved by the unwavering faith of these friends. These are certainly the kind of friends I would like to carry me to Jesus for healing. How sad that the scribes and Pharisees in the crowd couldn’t have had a little of that faith. Maybe they, too, could have learned something about forgiveness. Perhaps one of our temptations in life is to sit around waiting for God to forgive. God always forgives. We are the ones who must learn to forgive.

Making the story of the paralytic your own

Begin reading Luke 5:17-26 and enter the story as though it is happening to you.

Read slowly.

Don't hurry.

When you finish reading, return to the beginning.

Move through the reading carefully—stopping to reflect along the way. One day when Jesus was teaching, we are told, the power of God was in him to heal. Have you ever found the power of God in you to heal? It’s possible because through baptism Jesus shares his power with us. We, too, are imbued with healing power. We heal through a comforting word, a glance of love, a simple touch, the sound of our voice, an affirmation or even a smile. Or, perhaps the loving action of bringing someone to Jesus for healing.

Guided meditation: The healing of a friend

Think of someone you know who is in need of healing. In your mind’s eye put them on the stretcher that is being carried to Jesus. Just one person—don’t stack up the stretcher. Now take your place as one of those who is carrying the stretcher. Choose three people you know to help you carry this person to Jesus. The people you choose can be saints in heaven or people on earth whom you trust with prayer. Envision you and your assistants climbing to the roof, loosening the tile, lowering your friend into the presence of Jesus. This is a poignant moment. Pause now and watch the unfolding exchange take place. How do you feel about this encounter?

Guided meditation: your own healing experience

You are the one who needs healing now. What piece of your life will you choose to place on the stretcher? Will it be a need for physical healing? A depression? An overwhelming sadness? Something in your life that paralyzes you? A spiritual darkness? When you know what you are placing on the stretcher, think about those who will carry you to Jesus. Select four people. Who are the significant people in your life who have always been there for you? Pray about this. When you have chosen the ones who will bring you to Jesus, try to feel yourself being carried on the stretcher. It will probably not be a real smooth ride but who cares considering your destination. When you arrive at the feet of Jesus listen to his voice proclaiming, “Your sins are forgiven—Rise and walk.”

In our encounter with Jesus, isn’t this what we all wish to hear? “Your sins are forgiven; pick up your stretcher and go home.” So let’s go forth giving God the glory.

Your next Word to romance is 1 John 1-10.


Little Rock Scripture Study REIMAGINED. In case you haven’t heard, we’re offering entirely new editions of our Bible study materials, beginning this season with the Gospel According to Luke Part One and the Gospel According to Luke Part Two. All new questions, prayer, and free access to online video lectures. Want to know more, check it out here.

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