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Bible Background Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Jesus and the Man Let Down Through the Roof

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Jesus and the Man Let Down Through the Roof - The story of the paralytic being brought by four friends and healed by Jesus can be found in three of the four Gospels: Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-22 and Luke 5:17-26, etc.


Background note

Posted by member Angie2:

The story of the paralytic being brought by four friends and healed by Jesus can be found in three of the four Gospels: Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:1-22 and Luke 5:17-26.

Matthew's account leaves out the roof destruction. Mark's account identifies the location as Capernaum. Luke's account is very similar to the Mark account.  

I prefer to teach children with Mark's account because it has all the elements of the story we think of, plus the part about the miracle happening in Capernaum, which was Peter's hometown.

Background notes

Posted by Neil MacQueen:

I too prefer Mark's account because the added info about it happening at Capernaum LIKELY refers to Peter's Family Compound -- which was located in Capernaum. After the resurrection, Peter's house became an important meeting place.

I've been to Capernaum. The ruins have been extensively excavated and preserved. Capernaum looks like a small village of maybe 50 homes. It sits on the main road around the Sea, and had a stone fishing pier (recently rediscovered under the water) --making it something more than just a village, but a port-of-call. Jesus knew how to pick his spots! 

Late in the First Century A.D. the Jews in Capernaum built a wonderfully ornate synagogue which is still partially standing today. This indicates a strong Jewish faith community in Capernaum, and a likely center for scribes and Pharisees.  This probably means that the crowd inside Peter's house that day were family, neighbors, and local officials who knew the family. It is believed that this ornate synagogue rests on an earlier synagogue which Jesus would have used. Today, a large modern Franscican church was built on pillars over the ruins of Peter's house, and appears to "hover". Kind of looks like a spaceship.

Most of the houses in Capernaum were built next to each other using common stone walls between them. This may explain why the friends could so easily get to the roof. Perhaps they stepped up on their own roof and over to Peter's roof.  His house was a series of rooms around a central courtyard. (Add: In my Faith Through the Roof  Now free to the supporting members of Rotation.org we recreated this house-courtyard based on the archaeology of the site.) 

Check out the two video posts about a teaching clip from "The Nazareth Jesus Knew" A Television Series" on real archaeological-connections, describing what the house's roof would actually have been like, interesting stuff.

Based on the site, there was room for about 30 to 40 people in the main room of Peter's compound, and spilling outside. 

One last interesting thought:
Given the size of the town and the fact that Jesus and Peter used it as a base of operations, it's logical to assume that Jesus MAY have met the lame man or his friends beforehand. 

There's a photobubble of Capernaum and the synagogue in the Footsteps of Jesus CD (now out of print, but if you have it, worth looking at).


Added by Neil MacQueen:

There are FOUR miracles in this story:

  1. The man's healing. 

  2. That the man's friends would go to such great effort. 

  3. Jesus forgiving the man's sins!    Forgiveness IS healing, restoration, reviving. That Jesus did it was a shocking thing to the Jewish authorities. Only God can do that, ...so guess who Jesus is!    

  4. The Miracle of Belief.  Some went away believing. Some went away doubting. Belief is a miracle.

Disclosure: Neil MacQueen is the author of the mentioned software. The Rotation.org Board has encouraged Neil to post his lesson plans and to create new lesson plans for this site and has since donated the software to rotation.org to our Supporting Members. Often those lessons will make use of Neil's software. Neil’s work with computers in Christian Education grew out of his work in developing the Workshop Rotation Model. 

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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