When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” Mark 2:1-12
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The crowds gathered around Jesus were there for the physical healing they were hoping he would provide for them. This is certainly the reason why the men carried the paralyzed man to Jesus. We understand that Jesus was not just a healer of physical infirmity but that he was a healer of spiritual infirmity as well. Before the actual birth of Jesus, the angel told Joseph that Jesus would save his people from their sins. As Jesus began his public ministry, John the Baptist spoke of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Spiritual infirmity is always a greater need than physical infirmity. The physical paralysis of the man rendered him helpless and he could do nothing about it (hence, his being carried by friends). Our spiritual paralysis (sinfulness) renders us helpless and we can do nothing about it (hence, we need a Savior from sin). How easily we minimize the extent of our need and our helplessness to do anything about it. How easily we minimize the necessity of a Savior and the extent of what Christ did to take care of our sin.
Our passage tells us that Jesus saw their (the men's) faith and then told the young man that his sins were forgiven. He could rightly have said, "Young man and you guys up there on the roof, your sins are forgiven." It was faith that made the difference. It is by faith (not works) that we have been made right in the sight of God and it is all because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Christ was sent to die for us and he did so while we were still (before works could have any possibility of effect) sinners. It is interesting that when Jesus tells the young man that his sins are forgiven it is still in view of the promised provision of the cross and not the accomplished provision of the cross. The healing of the man and the Saving of the man are integrally connected. This is what the Pharisees with their objections don't get and it is because they don't recognize Jesus as God in the flesh.
Our story began with crowds of people coming to be healed which included the men and their paralyzed friend. The religious leaders are in the crowd to find any fault with Jesus that can be found. Jesus does the unexpected by telling the young man that his sins are forgiven. The Pharisees say this is blasphemy. Jesus proves he has authority to forgive sins by healing the paralyzed man. Again, healing and forgiveness are integrally connected. Jesus takes care of the greatest need of all - the spiritual infirmity of sinfulness. Through the forgiveness of sins Jesus heals our souls and transforms our lives from the inside out.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I acknowledge that I tend to minimize the extent of my spiritual infirmity and the extent of my true need for you. Thank you for coming to be the Savior of the world and the Savior of my soul. I know I need a Savior and that you are it. Thank you for giving me faith to believe in you as my Savior from sin. I am gripped by wonder, awe, and praise for who you are and what you do. You heal the lame, you forgive sinners, and you meet the deepest needs of our souls. Thank you, Lord, for being in the business of restoring people in body, soul, and spirit. Thank you for your provision of salvation and the powerful touch of your presence in my life today. Amen!
Posted on Wed, January 24, 2018
by Ken Hart