The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
Jesus and the Leper
Matthew viii: 2 to
4; ix: 2 to 8;
Mark i: 40 to 45; ii: 1 to 12;
v: 12 to 26.
the great day of teaching and healing, of which we
read in the last story, Jesus lay down to rest in
the house of Simon Peter. But very early the next
morning, before it was light, he rose up, and went
out of the house to a place where he could be alone,
and there for a long time he prayed to God. Soon
Simon and the other disciples missed him, and sought
for him until they found him. They said, "Everybody
is looking for you; come back to the city."
But Jesus said, "No, I cannot stay in Capernaum.
There are other places where I must preach the
kingdom of God, for this is the work to which I am
And Jesus went out through all the towns in that
part of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues, and
healing all kinds of sickness, and casting out the
evil spirits. His disciples were with him, and great
crowds followed him from all the land. They came to
hear his wonderful words and to see his wonderful
While he was on this journey of preaching in
Galilee, a leper came to him. You remember, from the
story of Naaman the Syrian  (Story 86), what a
terrible disease leprosy was, and still is, in those
lands, and that no man could cure the leper.
This poor leper fell down before the feet of Jesus,
and cried out, "O Lord, if you are willing, I know
that you can make me well and clean!" Jesus was full
of pity for this poor man. He reached out his hand
and touched him, and said, "I am willing; be clean!"
And in a moment all the scales of leprosy fell away,
his skin became pure, and the leper stood up a well
man. Jesus said to him, "Do not tell any one; but go
to the priests, and offer the gift that the law
commands, and let them see that you have been
Jesus said this because he knew that if the man
should tell every one whom he met how he had been
cured, such crowds would come to him for healing
that he would find no time for preaching the word of
God; and preaching God's word, and not healing the
sick, was the great work of Jesus.
But this leper who had been healed did not obey the
command of Jesus. He could not keep still, and told
everybody whom he  knew that Jesus, the great
prophet, had taken away his leprosy. And it came to
pass as Jesus had expected; such great crowds
gathered in all the towns and villages to see Jesus,
and to ask him to heal their sick, that Jesus could
not enter the cities to preach the gospel. He went
out to the fields and the open country, and there
the people followed him in great throngs.
After a time Jesus came again to Capernaum, which
was now his home. As soon as the people heard that
he was there they came in great crowds to see him
and to hear him. They filled the house, and the
courtyard inside its walls, and even the streets
around it, while Jesus sat in the open court of the
house and taught them. It was the spring-time and
warm, and a roof had been placed over the court as a
shelter from the sun.
In the crowd listening to Jesus were not only his
friends, but some that were his enemies, Pharisees,
men making a great show of serving God, but wicked
in their hearts, and scribes who taught the law, but
were jealous of this new teacher, whose words were
so far above theirs. These men were watching to find
some evil in Jesus, so that they might lead the
people away from him.
While Jesus was teaching, and these men were
listening, the roof was suddenly taken away above
their heads. They looked up, and saw that a man was
being let down in a bed by four men on the walls
This man had a sickness called palsy, which made his
limbs shake all the time, and kept him helpless, so
that he could neither walk nor stand. He was so
eager to come to Jesus that these men, finding that
they could not carry him through the crowd, had
lifted him up to the top of the house, and had
opened the roof, and were now letting him down in
his bed before Jesus.
This showed that they believed in Jesus, without any
doubt whether he could cure this man from his palsy.
Jesus said to the man, "My son, be of good cheer;
your sins are forgiven!"
The enemies of Jesus who were sitting near heard
these words, and they thought in their own minds,
though they did not speak it aloud, "What wicked
things this man speaks! He claims to forgive sins!
Who except God himself has power to say, 'Your sins
are forgiven?' "
Jesus knew their thoughts, for he knew all things,
and he said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?
Which is the easier to say,  'Your sins are
forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk?' But I will
show you that while I am on earth as the Son of man,
I have the power to forgive sins."
Then he spoke to the palsied man on his couch before
them, "Rise up, take up your bed, and go to your
At once a new life and power came to the palsied
man. He stood upon his feet, rolled up the bed on
which he had been lying helpless, placed it on his
shoulders and walked out through the crowd, which
opened to make a way for him. The man went, strong
and well, to his own house, praising God as he
By this Jesus had shown that, as the Son of God, he
had the right to forgive the sins of men.
These enemies of Jesus could say nothing, but in
their hearts they hated him more than ever, for they
saw that the people believed on Jesus. They praised
the Lord God, and felt fear toward one who could do
such mighty works, and they said, "We have seen
strange things to-day!"
Jesus and the Leper