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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Houses had at Jesus’ time flat roofs made of limestone and tiles. There were stairs leading to the roof outside the house. A person is usually paralyzed when middle-aged or older, because of a hemorrhage in the brain. A paralyzed person can neither move nor speak. The Son of Man is a name Jesus used for himself.

1. Do you think that a person can be happy if he is lying on his bed, unable to speak or to move?
  • What kind of care did this man need in his everyday life?
  • Imagine the everyday life of the person who was taking care of this man.

    2. All the Jews believed in God at that time. What did this man perhaps think about God and faith after he was paralyzed?

    3. We can see from the verse 5 that this man had sins on his conscience. What kind of sins can one commit even when unable to move or speak?
  • What is your opinion: does pain and sickness change us for the better or for the worse as human beings?

    4. What makes it difficult to transport a paralyzed man on a blanket through a town?
  • Why didn’t other people come out of the house and allow this poor man to be carried to Jesus (4)?
  • Why didn’t the four friends turn around and go home after having realized that it was impossible to enter through the door?

    5. What was the relation of these four men to the paralyzed person? Think of different possibilities. (3).
  • What precautions were needed when transporting the paralyzed man to the roof? (See background information about the house.)
  • What kind of tools were needed for breaking up the roof? Where did these four men get them?
  • What kind of remarks were perhaps heard from the room below while the roof was being broken?

    6. The four men had brought their friend to Jesus in order that he might be healed. Why did Jesus forgive him his sins first (5)?
  • Why did Jesus work in this order: first forgiving sins and then healing the illness?
  • What did it mean to the paralyzed man that he was forgiven all the wrong things he had done in the past?

    7. Imagine a situation that you go to Jesus and ask him to solve your biggest problem. What if he would answer you: “My son/ my daughter, your sins are forgiven.” Would you become sad or glad?
  • If you could choose, which one would you take: a good conscience or a solution to your biggest problem?
  • How did the attitude of the paralyzed man change towards his illness when he realized that he would go to heaven in the end?

    8. In verse 5 Jesus is not talking about the faith of the paralyzed but that of his friends. Obviously the man himself didn’t have any faith before meeting Jesus. Mention the verse when you think he started to believe in Jesus?
  • Why didn’t the teachers of law believe that Jesus was able to forgive people their sins (7-8)?

    9. Answer the question which Jesus poses in verse 9.
  • What did it cost Jesus to heal this man? What did it cost him to forgive his sins?
  • What would you have thought about Jesus if you had witnessed with your own eyes what is described in verses 10-12?

    10. THE GLAD TIDINGS QUESTIONS: If your heart is accusing you for something that you did wrong, hear what Jesus is saying to you: “My son/ my daughter, your sins are forgiven!” In order to pay for his promise, Jesus had to die on the cross. What does his promise mean to you today? (You can answer in your heart.)
  • (For everybody to answer): What was the most important thing you learned during this study?

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