What seems to be the problem?

Luke 5:17‑32

Introduction Question

As humans, what do you think is at the root of our problems? What do we need to resolve it and how hopeful do you feel about that?

Read Luke 5:17‑26

Consider what extreme lengths this paralysed man and his friends go to in order to get to Jesus. What impression do you get of their feelings about his situation, and about their attitude to Jesus? What would you imagine the man was thinking and feeling as he lay on his mat in the centre of the room, with debris and dust from the roof settling around him?


Jesus’ response surprises everyone. What do you imagine the paralytic’s initial feelings and thoughts about it might have been? And what impact do you think these words would have had on him after he was healed, as he went home in verse 25?


The Pharisees respond to Jesus’ pronouncement with silent outrage. What is the logic of their objection? Why do they think Jesus is ‘blaspheming’ — speaking in a way that insults, dishonours or defies God? And from what follows, at what point does Jesus disagree with them?


Jesus perceives their unspoken accusation, and responds with a perplexing question and then an undeniable demonstration. Consider his question: why might saying ‘Your sins are forgiven’ be the easier of the two? Why might it be the harder?

Read Luke 5:27‑32

What strikes you about the effect Jesus’ invitation has on Levi? What major themes of the first incident do we see again in this one?


In verses 31 and 32, Jesus returns to the comparison between illness and sin which he first raised at verse 20. In this account, how has Jesus challenged people’s ideas about their biggest problems? How has he challenged people’s ideas about the solution?


What impression do you get from these events of Jesus’ personality?

Why does this matter?

C.S. Lewis, an Oxford and Cambridge don and Christian writer, and former committed atheist, wrote:

Then comes the real shock. Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if he was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says he has always existed. He says he is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists… anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that. you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips. C.S. Lewis

Why do you think some people who would reject Jesus’ claims about himself would still consider him a great moral teacher and example?