Sue Collinson (Winchester)
I remember reading this story of the paralytic man sitting on a bench in a park near Amsterdam. I was out walking with a tall Dutch friend of mine called Hilda. She and I had been on many walks in that wood over the years and had had many conversations about life and God and her struggles with faith.
But this time was different. I was about to go away; we were moving back to England and I
wouldn’t be able to see her so easily and to talk so freely. We had shared so much and now I was about to leave her. Perhaps that is why I decided to read this story with her. Perhaps I was a little like those friends who wanted to take their friend to Jesus. The men in the story knew their friend was in need and they also knew the One who could help.
This paralysed man, like the one covered in leprosy and like Levi the tax collector, received something from Jesus. Healing, forgiveness, purpose and calling, each received what they
needed the most. These are stories of humble dependence and obedience, of perseverance
and the breaking down of barriers. They are stories of transformation.
But more than this, these stories show us who Jesus is. ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Publicly and decisively, Jesus forgives, heals and restores all who come to him. He is showing us his true identity as the man who is God. I wanted my friend Hilda to get to know Jesus. He is the one who meets our every need, who gives and gives out of his limitless resources of love and grace and forgiveness. Jesus shows us the radically generous heart of God.