January 16, 2020

When You Are on the Mat

Luke 5:17–39

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Jesus Heals a Paralytic

17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.1 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Jesus Calls Levi

27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

A Question About Fasting

33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”2


[1] 5:17 Some manuscripts was present to heal them
[2] 5:39 Some manuscripts better

When You Are on the Mat

Key Verse | Luke 5:18-20

And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."

Bio | Hannah Hays

Hi, my name is Hannah. I have a new life in Christ. I'm recovering from control, fear, and pride, but I still suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) at times. Born and raised in California, I have lived in the great State of Texas for the last three and a half years. I'm a nurse, and I have the privilege of taking care of wound and ostomy patients. I serve in Shoreline, Watermark's student ministry, with an awesome ninth-grade small group. Many people may think I'm crazy, but I live with five out of the six in my community group, and I love it!

Central Truth

When you're going through a trial, sometimes you don't have the strength or capability to endure it on your own. That's why God has given us community.


Devotional | Luke 5:17–39

We have a saying in my community group: "You're on the mat tonight!" It has become a catchphrase that refers to when one of us needs biblical guidance or godly counsel. At times, it is a...

We have a saying in my community group: "You're on the mat tonight!" It has become a catchphrase that refers to when one of us needs biblical guidance or godly counsel. At times, it is a result of someone who is caught up in sin. Other times, someone is battling intense spiritual warfare or is in need of physical healing, and prayers are needed. No one enjoys being on the mat, but we've come to realize that ALL of us end up on the mat at some point.  

Something I've learned in re:generation, Watermark's biblical recovery ministry, is that a painful experience or circumstance can serve an important purpose in someone's life. I've experienced physical pain and suffering in my life as well as consequences from my sin. These have felt avoidable, purposeless, and very inconvenient at times. One of the biggest blessings of going through trials, apart from the grace and mercy that Jesus offers to me, is the support of my community group.

Luke 5:18-20 illustrates the importance of community. The man was paralyzed. He could not physically get to Jesus on his own. There are times in my community group when someone will be experiencing a trial that she cannot handle on her own. God has placed other believers in our lives so that when we are in need, we are not alone. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, my community will pray for and counsel the one in need and bring her to Jesus.

As we rejoice and are grateful that the paralyzed man was healed, the most important event that took place was that his sins were forgiven, and he was made right with the Father. God doesn't always heal us or change our circumstances here on earth, but He will always restore us spiritually when we repent and admit our need for Him in faith. That is an extraordinary thing!

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you see Jesus as the ultimate healer in your life?

2. How have painful or difficult experiences affected the way you view God?

3. Do you have people in your life who will walk through difficult and painful times with you and point you to the true source of healing found in Jesus?

9 Comments available

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Jesus seems to reward these bold gutsy expressions of faith, even ‘digging though a roof’ to ‘cut in line’. It took faith to do it and Jesus recognized it. Here faith is tied to forgiveness somehow, Jesus seeing their faith said ‘your sins are forgiven’.

In other gospel accounts the religious leaders were angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath but ironically didn’t see a problem with themselves plotting his murder on the Sabbath.

Gabriel Adel 7 months ago


We are as strong and healthy as our Community!

I liked central Truth: “When you’re going through a trial, sometimes you don’t have the strength or capability to endure it on your own. That’s why God has given us community”.

Thank you Hannah for highlighting the value of community in your devotional. Yes, when we are on the MAT there is not much we can do on our own or for yourself and this is when the people around us, people that we surrender our self with matter.

Jesus might have noticed the man on the matt, but what impresses him the most is the community the man was in, as he saw their faith “20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

Trey Collins 7 months ago

Hey Hannah, great devo thank you! I too noticed how Levi left his job/situation immediately and followed Jesus. There is no doubt that Levi knew who Jesus was, and maybe even was excited about the invitation like he had won some sort of lottery. I have often wondered what if I could have been around the actual person of Jesus in the Bible, that would be an amazing invite and opportunity.

The reality is we all know who Jesus is, and are all invited to take up our cross daily and follow Him. He is calling all of us to a fully devoted life with Him, and we all have the opportunity to immediately and fully follow. Praying for us both this morning Hannah that we would be faithful followers of Jesus Christ more every day!

Carol Bate 7 months ago
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Sue Bohlin, I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your devotion to the JTJ readers. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that reading your comments each morning encourage my heart. The Lord has gifted you with wonderful insight into His Word. Be encouraged. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Marcus Peters 7 months ago

Jesus is certainly the ultimate healer of my life. I did not experience true freedom from an addiction to pornography until I started to read and study God’s Word and pray. My addiction stems from pride and selfishness, and Christ has shown great mercy to me when I humble myself and confess to those in my life. A wise man once told me “Faithfulness is measured not by the absence of stumbling, but instead the quickness of confession”. James 5:16

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Looks like Jesus word pictures are sometimes longer sometimes shorter and hear come fast one after another.

Jesus is like the doctor making a house call for the tax collector (in spiritual need)

Jesus is the bridegroom at his party and not right to fast at his party (and they will fast later when he’s not).

Jesus is not putting a band-aid on the problem but fixing the whole thing, doing something new - new wine in new wineskins.

All hold a thinly veiled claim of divine significance of Jesus authority.

Burlon Leffall III 7 months ago

Thank you, Hannah. God bless.

I like how you pointed out that Luke 5:18-20 illustrates the importance of community. I think sometimes it’s the community that gets paralyzed. Not from sin, per se, but in knowing what to do for the “friend on the mat.” It was literally messy for them to get involved. We can be too individualistic, too lazy, too disconnected, or too intimidated to take on the burdens of others as our own. I’ve been on both sides with that. Lots of thoughts here, but I see a group unified in taking this person straight to Jesus by the best means possible and that homeboy was not protesting anything.

Q3| Yes and I am grateful for focused and greater community. Also, I am relieved that scripture reveals that Jesus also, after being sought in faith, just went to people Himself. He is wonderful.

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

Super devo, Hannah! I was paralyzed from the waist down from polio and still live with the effects of it. There so much you can’t do when you’re paralyzed, and you NEED other people and various assistive devices. That’s what struck me about Jesus’ instruction to the man he healed: “Pick up your mat.” What a blessing for him to be able to DO something he hadn’t been able to do before! Jesus didn’t just heal his body; He also enabled the man to move from passive to active, which would have all kinds of implications for how he saw himself and how he felt about himself. Helplessness is a dark and scary place, and Jesus rescued him from that emotional and physical pit. What a picture of what He does in our lives when we surrender to His work of sanctification, growth, and maturing!

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

GM Hannah. Great devo. Living with your CG. Now THAT’s community.

The big verse for me here is verse 28, “And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.”

I identify with Matthew in this passage and with the young man in Mark 10:17-27

Hemingway, (not a believer), is quoted as warning against having too many possessions as you risk having them possess you. I link to Luke 12:15.

I imagine Matthew as the despised tax collector hearing story after story about Jesus. Surely, he was weary and wanted out of the hatred, rejection and criticism of a profession banned by Jewish law, regardless of how lucrative, (Matthew 11:28).

Much of the time I want to negotiate. Does God really mean “everything”?

A few years ago, when I was in a very weary state, a friend gave me 1 John 2:15-17.

Yes. Everything means everything. Anything means anything.

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