Impairment or total loss of muscular power or of sensation in one or more parts of the body. Sometimes called palsy, it results from damage or disorder of the nervous system or from atrophy of muscles, thus either preventing the transmission of nerve impulses or rendering the muscles unable to react to them. Paralysis has many names and forms, some of which types can be fatal. Among its causes are disease (as in the case of diphtheritic paralysis), brain lesions, damage to the spinal cord, or pressure from a tumor.
Paralyzed persons were among those miraculously cured by Jesus Christ. (Mt 4:24) A paralyzed man was brought to Jesus, who cured the sufferer after forgiving his sins. Then, at Christ’s bidding, the former paralytic picked up his cot and went home. (Mt 9:2-8; Mr 2:3-12; Lu 5:18-26) On another occasion the manservant of an army officer was laid up with paralysis and was about to die, but Jesus healed him from a distance. (Mt 8:5-13; Lu 7:1-10) This slave was “terribly tormented,” or terribly afflicted (Mt 8:6), which may, but does not necessarily, indicate that he was suffering intense pain. Though usually not painful, paralysis may be. Cramplike pains occur in the spine and the extremities in cases of paralysis agitans (parkinsonism, or shaking palsy), and there is agonizing pain in paraplegia dolorosa, a form of paralysis associated with some cases of spinal cord cancer. “Paralytics” are persons afflicted with paralysis.
The evangelist Philip preached, and he performed signs in the city of Samaria, curing many paralyzed persons. (Ac 8:5-8) In Lydda, paralyzed Aeneas, “who had been lying flat on his cot for eight years,” was told by Peter: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Rise and make up your bed.” At that, “he rose immediately.”—Ac 9:32-35.