Take up Your Bed
In a city of Galilee there lived a man named Caleb who was suffering from a disease called palsy. He could not work nor even walk around; he could only lie in bed. Now Caleb had lately heard about a Man named Jesus, a great Miracle-Worker Who had already healed countless men and women: the ill the lame, the blind and the deaf. He had even raised the dead to life again! Of course this was hopeful news to Caleb, but at the same time it made him very sad. What chance had he to reach this Jesus when he couldn’t even walk? For a long time he brooded, almost without hope. Then one day he spoke of the matter to some friends who had come to visit him. “If I could only go to Jesus,” Caleb said wearily, “I know He would heal me.” “The town in which He is preaching today is not far from here,” said one of Caleb’s friends. “I wonder if we couldn’t carry you.” “Surely we can,” said another. “There are four of us and the bed is not heavy.” “Of course; let’s try it!” the others agreed. Caleb’s face lit with new hope. “Will you really do it?” he asked. “Will you really carry me to Jesus of Nazareth?” Without stopping to answer, they lifted the bed, two men on each side, and carried it out of the door. The burden was light, for Caleb’s illness had wasted him to a shadow. The journey was not long. When, however, they came near the house in which Jesus was preaching and healing, they found the crowds so thick that it was impossible to get Caleb and his bed through. They set the bed down and stared. “I have never seen so many people in my life,” remarked one of the men. “Nor I,” said another. “There must be people here from every town of Galilee and Judea. Probably there are even some from Jerusalem.” How were they ever going to get Caleb to Jesus? The men mopped their brows and pondered. Suddenly one of them pointed excitedly to the roof of the house. “What is it?” the others asked curiously. “We can get the bed onto the roof,” the man said, “and then remove enough of the tiling to let the bed down in front of Jesus.” “It was an excellent idea. They lifted the bed to the roof without too much difficulty. Then, after patiently removing the tile, they lowered Caleb gently to the floor of the room where Jesus was preaching. While the people around Him fell back in astonishment, Jesus approached Caleb. He could see the simple faith in his poor, suffering heart just as clearly as He could see the love and awe on his face. Bending down, He blessed Caleb and said softly, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Immediately a great peace filled Caleb’s heart, He forgot all about his sickness and about wanting a miracle to cure it. He was suddenly very happy, just as we all are after going to confession and getting absolution. But in the crowd were many Scribes and the Pharisees, who hated Our Lord and were always watching for a chance to get Him into trouble. Now they pounced on His words. “This Man blasphemes,” they thought, “for who can forgive sins but God?” The Scribes and the Pharisees, in spite of Jesus’ divine goodness and His many miracles, would not let themselves believe that He was God. But Jesus was indeed God. Knowing what they were thinking, He could read their thoughts as if they had spoken them aloud. “Why do you think these things in you hearts?” He asked them. “Which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘Arise and walk’? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sins, I will heal this man.” And turning to Caleb, Jesus said, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed and go to your house.” A great new strength surged suddenly through Caleb–he knew that he had been healed. He rose from his bed and thanked Our Lord with all his heart. Again the crowd milled close to Jesus, listening to His every word and begging Him to help them. In the midst of them Caleb quietly took up his bed ad left the house. And as he walked home he glorified God, Who had healed not only his body but his soul as well.