When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 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, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 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. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5 (NLT)
Let’s take a look at this scene. Jesus has just rebuked and cast a demon out of a possessed man. He dramatically demonstrated His authority over evil spirits and His fame has spread rapidly through Galilee. He continues to perform miracles, cast out demons and preach the Good News to all who will listen (Mark 1:25-45). Jesus is attracting crowds wherever He goes and when he returns to Capernaum, it is no different.
On this day, we meet four friends who have decided to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing. The friends arrive at the house where Jesus is preaching and see that it is too crowded to get in. They know that they can’t get to Jesus how they’d originally planned but they refuse to give up! They’ve decided that today is the day they see Jesus! Today is the day of salvation! They don’t know when Jesus will be nearby again and they refuse to let the opportunity slip by. So they manage to carry their friend on a mat, up a flight of stairs (awkwardly and with great difficulty, I’d imagine) and proceed to tear apart the roof and lower him down through! Imagine what people must have been thinking when the ceiling started to come apart, materials falling to the floor, and they look up to see a man on a thin pallet being lowered to the ground in front of everyone!
The paralyzed man may have felt all eyes on him and wondered what on earth he had gotten himself into. His friends may have felt nervous…wondering, “What will people think? We must look crazy! What if we are sent away? How are we going to pay for this roof?!”. In truth, these are thoughts I would likely have had. What if…? What if…? But Jesus saw their faith. This is why I admire these friends so much. They decided that they weren’t going to let a distracting scene or unexpected obstacles stop them. They were determined to bring their friend to Jesus. I believe they had resolved in their hearts that Jesus would heal this man. Think about it! They knew that once they lowered their friend down through the roof, they probably couldn’t lift him back up. He was going to have to WALK out. Wow! Oh Lord let me be such a faith-filled, determined friend!
Jesus saw their faith and He responded. Jesus knew their hearts and He also saw their actions. He saw their willingness to fight and not give up. He saw that, against all hurtles, they were going to bring their friend to Him. In return, Jesus did something amazing. He said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus…we didn’t come here for forgiveness!
Didn’t you notice?! Our friend is paralyzed! He needs to WALK!
This was my initial reaction when I read this story. Why would Jesus first forgive his sins when he so obviously needed physical healing!?
God is being gracious to teach me that the greatest miracle Jesus will ever do for us is to forgive our sins. The most amazing gift is for Him to wipe us clean of our past and accept us into His family, to give us eternal life with Him. Our greatest need always has been and always will be…Jesus Himself.
The next part of the story is such an awesome lesson on how God values our faith.
“…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, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 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!”
Mark 2:10-12 (NLT)
Jesus knew what the man was seeking. Jesus knew what the four friends were hoping to see. He knew they all wanted him to walk. Jesus also knew that, more than anything, this man needed forgiveness. He needed a Saviour. He needed to have a true encounter with Jesus, the Saviour of the world. But Jesus, in His love and mercy, doesn’t stop there. He gives him a second miracle, the one the man thought was his biggest need. Now he can walk! His life and the lives of his friends are forever changed. Now this man can tell his story of Jesus, the One who healed him inside AND out.
Jesus knows what we need, friends. He knows that we need physical miracles, healed relationships, financial provision, and more. He loves when we seek after Him for ourselves and our loved ones. He is urging us to do so! But I am convinced that SOMETIMES, when He allows us to seek for oh so long, and to pray oh so hard, believing against all obstacles, it is to drive us to Him. So, in our desperation and determination, we find ourselves digging into His presence, seeking and finding Him. When we do that, we begin to realize that we don’t need miracles, healings and provisions only…more than anything, we need Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
Love and blessings,