And the journey continues…. into the gospel of Mark. One of the stories I love from the book of Mark is also found in Matthew 9 and Luke 5. Mark 2:1-12 shows a scene where Jesus is preaching to a packed house and some friends bring their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. “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!”
There are several things I love about this story. First, the friends moved heaven and earth, so to speak, to get their friend to Jesus. They knew that Jesus had the power to heal him. They went above and beyond to get their friend into the meeting place. They were creative and resourceful by digging through the roof and lowering the man through the hole they had created. It was not an easy task I’m sure. Who do you know that needs Jesus’ healing power? Are you persistent in trying to ‘get’ them somewhere to hear the gospel message? I am reminded of Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Are you like the friends in this story? You know Jesus and what He has to offer. Are you desperately trying to share it with your unsaved friends? God desires that we share the wonderful benefits provided by Jesus, as everyone needs Jesus!
Secondly, the group of religious naysayers took objection at Jesus telling the man ‘his sins are forgiven’. Jesus countered with the words he could just as easily have said ‘take up your mat and walk’. When you think about it, both are things only God can do! Only God can forgive sins and only God can heal a paralyzed man so that he can immediately jump up and walk out carrying his mat! It seems they were offended by Jesus’ words declaring them to be blasphemous. They were upset as forgiveness was God’s to grant, not his. However, they failed to see that He was God and was doing things that only God could do!
Lastly, Mark observed that all were stunned as they watched the events unfold and were amazed. Their amazement led to worship and praise of God. What has been your reaction to God’s hand in your life? Is your response one of praise and thanksgiving?
May you see with fresh eyes today the amazing riches you have in Christ. May you seek with persistence to bring others to Jesus. May you marvel anew at the power of Christ to heal and forgive.