Mark 2: 1 – 12 Jesus forgives and heals a paralysed man
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk”? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’
* * *
This is a rather strange and even humorous story of healing. I imagine Jesus preaching to the crowd while dust and masonry fall around him. It is, though, a story with a very definite message.
The men bringing the paralytic dug through somebody else’s roof to get their friend close to Jesus. What did it take to make them take such extreme measures? They must have been convinced that Jesus both could and would heal the paralysed man. Their action showed in a most definite way that they had faith in Jesus.
And Jesus didn’t let them down. When he saw their faith he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
Some teachers of the law were sitting there, and they heard Jesus say this. ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ they thought. They were thinking of the elaborate rituals of the temple that the priests would carry out, as intermediaries between God and man.
This was not what Jesus was talking about. He confronted the teachers of the law, asking them why the form of words matters. ‘Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk”?’
He then said, ‘But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’
The moment of truth had arrived. Those close to Jesus must have held their breath. Would the man stand up and walk? Yes, he did! “He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all.”
The Son of Man, Jesus, does indeed have the authority to forgive sins. HALLELUJAH!
There are two points I would make about how this passage is important today.
Firstly, it teaches us important truths about the nature of faith in Jesus:
- We need to believe that Jesus can help us
- We need to believe that Jesus wants to help us
- We need to show our faith by seeking Jesus. When we first put our faith in him, that action may be as little as a whispered prayer of trust and that is sufficient.
Secondly, Jesus did not require repentance from the paralysed man. The mere fact that he had come with demonstrable faith was sufficient for Jesus to forgive his sins. When we come to Jesus in trust, he accepts us. There are no ifs and buts; there is just forgiveness.
Isn’t that wonderful?
Thank you for your love; thank you for sending Jesus to heal us and forgive us; thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and teach us your way.
In Jesus name, Amen