Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
Luke 5:20 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'”
Desperation in the Hands of Jesus
Some kind of desperation lurks within all of us, but we often deny its existence or cover it up with our own resources, remedies, talents, skills, ambition, and even our dreams. Even though our friends and family may be aware of our greatest need, it's usually not until our misery reaches its zenith and cannot be concealed that our pride crumbles and we are forced to give others permission to help us.
While the story in Luke 5:17-26 doesn't give us many details about the paralytic man healed by Jesus, one thing is crystal clear — his friends loved him enough to risk everything to help him. It isn't surprising that someone with such a debilitating condition would do anything to find relief from his suffering, but it is nothing less than astounding that the man's friends appeared to be more desperate than he was. Verses 18 and 19 give us a glimpse of their remarkable determination: "Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” Nothing was going to stop them from helping their disabled friend... not the crowds of people in their way, not the fragile, highly collapsible clay roof tiles, and certainly not the disapproving stares of the religious elite who were watching Jesus' every move.
The tenacity of the man's friends paid off... big time. Verse 20 says, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'” Notice Jesus’ use of the word "their" in that verse. Jesus must've stood there and watched the man's friends with great admiration and probably a big smile on his face as the group of guys put their love in action to make a difference for someone who couldn't help himself. After a bit of scoffing from the religious teachers who stood by on the sidelines, the passage says, "So He said to the paralyzed man, 'I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.' Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God." His friends, who were likely still huffing and puffing from the effort expended to lower a full-grown man down through a hole in the roof, must've erupted with joyous and grateful laughter. Verse 26 tells us that everyone in the room was in awe over the miracle, but Jesus revealed so much more than His healing powers in this story — He seized the moment to announce who He really was and why He was there in the first place — to save us from our sins, bring healing to our souls, show us how to truly love others, and restore us into fellowship with God. In just 10 verses, Luke helps us see what it looks like to live out the Gospel in pursuit of Jesus and in community with each other, and in its own way, that's a miracle in and of itself.
Daily Bible Readings
This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest that you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul.
Monday - Read the story about Peter and the fishing nets in Luke 5:1-11. Sometimes God has to empty our nets of all our stuff before He can fill it with His best for us, which may include physical or emotional healing. “Our stuff” could be talents, control, expertise, experiences, habits, possessions, etc. — it’s whatever we rely on and trust in more than Jesus to make us successful, happy, comfortable, or safe. What is in your net that Jesus is asking you to let go of? Meditate on that thought and spend time asking Jesus to show you what you need to let go of in order to find fulfillment, healing, and direction.
Tuesday - Read Job 6:14, John 15:12-13, and 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Spend time praising God for the people in your life who bring you joy, comfort, and help point you toward Jesus. As your heart fills with gratitude, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind the names of friends or family He is calling you to help or encourage in some way.
Wednesday - Read Isaiah 26. This is a powerful passage that describes the path to peace and healing. As you read it, think of yourself as the city that Isaiah describes. Spend time in prayer and ask God to speak to your strongholds as you read it again. Write down whatever He stirs within you. Whichever verse jumps out at you the most, write it down and commit to memorizing it.
Thursday - Read Psalm 139:14 and John 9:1-11. Sometimes we can become so focused on what is wrong in our lives or something we don't have, we can forget that everything about us is designed and controlled by God. This means that even our struggles, longings, and suffering serve a divine purpose, even if we cannot see it or disagree with how God is going about it. As you sit quietly with Jesus, ask Him to wrap His comforting presence around you and assure your heart and mind that you have all that you need in Him and His time. If He convicts your heart of any sins, bitterness, or selfishness, allow His forgiveness to wash over you. Rejoice in who He made you to be and trust that He knows what He's doing.
Friday - Read Matthew 6:32-34. Whatever longings are in your heart today, ask Jesus to give you fresh eyes to see them through the filter of His Word. Meditate on this passage and ask God to flood you with a renewed security in His goodness and love.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.
Want to Go Even Further?
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic.