Mark 2: 1 – 12 NLT
Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
If somehow, you could actually stand before Jesus while still living here on earth, what would you ask him to fix? Think about that for a few moments. What would be your request? Why?
I think I would ask Jesus to heal my daughter who suffers from constant migraine headaches. Those headaches have been an issue since she was in elementary school, and increased to being constant as she grew older. We’ve had her to specialists all over Ontario and even in the States, but no one has any cure. It has limited her life to hiding away most of the time. For sure, I would
ask Jesus to take those headaches away so she could live a full life. What would your request be?
This story of the paralyzed man is one often told even in Sunday School. The fact that his friends were so persistent that they were willing to climb on the roof and create a hole big enough to lower their friend is so exciting. Try to picture this scene. I know most houses in New Testament times in Israel had stairs leading to the rooftop since that was a place where they could experience the cool of the day. (Air conditioning for sure wasn’t available) So, it would be possible to get their friend on the roof of the house lying on some sort of carrier. But that hole would have to be fairly large to let them lower a full-grown man down without tipping him over to land on the floor. I’m sure Jesus and the people in the house listening would have been aware of the roof removal going on. I wonder what the home-owner thought? It is definitely an amazing scene and event. The man was healed and jumped up and walked out. He didn’t even have to go through some kind of physiotherapy to get his muscles back functioning. Paralyzed, and then, bam … jumping!
But is that what Jesus primarily wanted – healing from the paralysis? “Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (v. 4 -5 ) There was Jesus’ first concern!
When you were thinking about what you would like Jesus to fix, was sin what you thought about? If it wasn’t, you were among the vast majority of us. And the many crowds around Jesus in New Testament times also weren’t thinking about forgiveness of sin. In these first 2 chapters of Mark, we see crowds wanting to be healed of all their diseases. That would happen today for sure. Can you imagine if there was someone who could heal even one common disease in this world today – the crowds would be incredible.
Someday, we will stand before mighty God. What will you be concerned about then? It’s so easy to put our spiritual issues on the backburner while we worry about life here on planet earth. Jesus gets right down to the issue that underlies a lot of what happens to us – our inborn desire to put ourselves first. It started with the first people created in Genesis, and it continues in each one of us today. When I stand before God, what do I do about all the lies I’ve told, all the times I’ve
said things I regret, all the times I’ve ignored a needy situation because it interrupted what I was doing, all the times I’ve lost my temper, all the times I’ve done something wrong knowing full well I was doing something wrong, all the things I’ve kept hidden and hope no one ever finds out, or all the times I’ve tried to justify what I’ve done ….. I haven’t even mentioned all the emotional and mental distress or issues caused by all that sinful stuff.
Oh, Jesus, thank you for coming to earth and dying for me! God saw all the brokenness and mess our sin created in this world, and he sent Jesus to deal with it all.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”. John 3: 16
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5: 8
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus …” Ephesians 2: 8 – 10
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8: 1
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3: 20
Soak in those verses. God has created a way to deal with your sin, your root problem. If you’ve never received Jesus as your personal Saviour – if you have been hoping that God will accept you for all your attempts to be a good person – stop now and ask for his forgiveness and his solution.
Pray something like this: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to this earth to take the punishment for my sin. Thank you that Jesus rose from the dead to prove that your forgiveness is
real. Forgive me for all the wrong things I have thought and done. Come into my life and be my Saviour and friend. I need you in my life. Thank you that we can have a close relationship.
“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1: 9
Here is a song that reinforces what Mark said today:
Living Hope by Phil Wickham
How great the chasm that lay between us
How high the mountain I could not climb
In desperation, I turned to heaven
And spoke Your name into the night
Then through the darkness, Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul
The work is finished, the end is written
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope
Hallelujah, praise the One who set me free
Hallelujah, death has lost its grip on me
You have broken every chain
There’s salvation in Your name
Jesus Christ, my living hope…