Completely paralyzed. That was the man's predicament. He was so immobilized that he required carriers to move him from place to place, not that he got around much. The man was born in an age that knew nothing of motorized wheelchairs or miraculous surgeries to restore his leg function. For most of his life, this man was resigned to a life without the privilege and blessing of self-propelled movement. He had accepted his fate as a handicapped, disabled, paralytic.
But then a healer came to town and His name was Jesus. The crippled man's friends came to believe that their immobilized peer might walk again if he could meet the miraculous Healer who was the subject of remarkable stories of physical restoration. Since their friend could not get to the Healer on his own, the friends decided to carry him there. So determined were the friends that they refused to be stymied by the crowds. When the throngs of people blocked their way to Jesus, they maneuvered themselves and their paralyzed friend up to the roof where they were able to finagle him in.
The efforts of the paralytic's faithful friends were not in vain. Once front and center of the crowd Jesus paused and turned His attentions directly to the man on the mat before Him. The first words out of Jesus' mouth extended forgiveness to the crippled man, an act met with scorn by bystanders. They didn't think a man should be extending God's forgiveness. What right did this Jesus have to do such a thing? And furthermore, why would Jesus worry about this man's forgiveness when the man so obviously had a desperate, physical need?
But Jesus wasn't done. He had a point to make. Any man could utter the words "your sins are forgiven" but only one could actually forgive them. Only one perfect, spotless Savior could heal the spirit of the crippled man. To show His power of restoration and bless the man's belief, Jesus went a step further. "Pick up your mat and go home."
In response to Jesus' command, the once immobile man did just that. He picked up his mat and walked right out of the house, in full view of the entire crowd. In one split second the whole identity of the paralytic was transformed. He was made new. His body was taken from disabled to able.
The restored paralytic could have questioned Jesus. It would have been natural for him to have inquired about how this healing was possible. For a man who had never walked before, he might have wondered what to do next with his life and newfound physical freedom. But he didn't ask a single question. He simply obeyed. He simply picked up his mat and walked.
When God comes with healing, both spiritual and physical, he issues the same command today as he did to the paralytic in Capernaum. Pick up your mat and walk. Go forth in the way of righteousness. Live in the fullness of your restoration. Don't worry yourself with concerns or hesitations. Don't question your new identity. Simply pick up that old mat of yours - the one you won't be needing any longer - and walk out in the strength of God's redemption and healing power.
When Jesus comes with restoration and healing He lifts the burden of both physical and spiritual paralysis. He gives the healed reason to pick up the mat they once relied on. With His words of authority and love He commands the restored to walk out of the house with joy and thanksgiving. Because Jesus is busy making you and I new, pick up your mat and walk.