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Paralysis, or palsy, is a neurological condition causing muscular stiffness and a lack of sensitivity, rendering a person partially or fully immobile. This debilitating condition is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, highlighting its severity and the profound impact it had on individuals and their families.

In the New Testament, we find the account of a paralytic man whose story exemplifies both the physical and spiritual healing power of Jesus Christ. This narrative is found in Mark 2:3-12: “And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mk 2:3-5).

This passage highlights the extraordinary faith and determination of the four men who carried their paralytic friend to Jesus. Despite the obstacles, including the crowd that made it impossible to enter through the door, they did not give up. Instead, they went to the extent of removing the roof to lower their friend down to where Jesus was teaching.

Old Testament Reference to Paralysis

Paralysis is also mentioned in the Old Testament, particularly during the Maccabean revolt. In 1 Maccabees 9:54-56, Alcimus, a high priest, ordered the destruction of the inner court of the sanctuary. However, he was struck with paralysis: “When Alcimus ordered the tearing down of the wall of the inner court of the sanctuary and thus destroying the work of the prophets, he was stricken, and his work was interrupted; his mouth was closed and he was paralyzed, so that he could no longer utter a word or give orders concerning his household. Alcimus died in great agony at that time.” This passage underscores the severity of paralysis and how it was viewed as a significant and divine intervention in the biblical context.


The story of the paralytic man in Mark’s Gospel offers profound lessons for Christians today:

1. Faith in Action: The four men displayed remarkable faith by taking immediate action to bring their friend to Jesus. Their determination and creativity in overcoming physical barriers reflect a deep belief in Jesus’ power to heal. As Christians, we are encouraged to act on our faith, demonstrating our trust in God’s ability to intervene in our lives and the lives of others.

2. Compassion and Community: The compassion shown by the four men is a powerful example of how we are called to care for one another. Their willingness to carry their friend and ensure he received help illustrates the importance of community and support within the body of Christ. We are reminded to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2) and to extend love and assistance to those in need.

3. Spiritual and Physical Healing: Jesus’ response to the paralytic man, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,” followed by the command to “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” (Mk 2:5, 11), emphasizes that Christ’s healing extends beyond the physical. It encompasses spiritual restoration and forgiveness of sins. This holistic healing approach invites us to seek not only physical well-being but also spiritual renewal through Christ.

4. Persistent Faith: The persistence of the paralytic man’s friends is a testament to unwavering faith. Despite societal barriers and physical challenges, they persisted until their friend was healed. This teaches us the value of perseverance in our faith journey, trusting that God honors our persistence and rewards our faith.

As followers of Christ, we are called to embody the faith, compassion, and perseverance demonstrated in the story of the paralytic man. May we continually strive to live out these principles, bringing glory to God and drawing others to His love through our actions and faith.

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