Summary: The greatest miracle is to be forgiven by Jesus. The greatest ministry is to bring a friend to Jesus
EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED
Have you ever been invited to a party or an event for the first time? Do you recall the feelings you had when you arrived? Were your expectations disappointing or were they more than what you could have imagined.
This familiar New Testament story recorded by Mark illustrates the power of Jesus in not only meeting our expectations but giving us more than what we could ever imagine.
1. The Paralytics PROBLEM ( 1-5)
After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home.
In verse 1, we’re told that Jesus was “in the house.” At least, that’s what the New King James version says. This of course is a figure of speech, that means he was at home. In fact, that’s the way that the NIV translates it: “the people heard that he had come home.”
Now we know, of course, that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but Capernaum and Nazareth are not far from each other. Luke 4 tells us that when Jesus went back to Nazareth, after his baptism and temptation in the wilderness, he was so thoroughly rejected by the people with whom he grew up that he left Nazareth and made Capernaum, which was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee, his home base for the three years of his public ministry.
It has been speculated that this may have been Peter’s house, where Jesus stayed in a room with the family of Peter and Andrew.
When the people found out that Jesus was at home, they began to gather in it. Although it was early in his ministry, Jesus was already starting to be quite a popular preacher and teacher.
Here was this man who was healing sick people all over the place. What did he have to say? Keep in mind that life in Palestine was a little more public than we are used to. Usually, the door would be opened in the morning and anyone was free to go in or out. It was never shut unless there was some special need for privacy. So, before long, the crowd filled the house and overflowed into the street, everyone trying to get closer to hear Jesus.
Now to better visualize what was happening I want you to try your best to picture in your mind the scene before us.
The house where Jesus resided, was typical of a middle eastern home. It was a small, one room structure with a flat roof. Access to the roof was by means of an outside stairway. The roof itself was usually made of wooden beams with thatch and compacted earth in order to shed the rain. Sometimes tiles were laid between beams and the thatch and the earth placed over them.
Mark says that four men brought a paraplegic to him. We are not told names, or even any relationship that existed between the paralytic or his four companions. Mark is also silent concerning how the man came to be paralyzed. Was it an accident? Did he contract a disease such as meningitis? Was he born paralyzed?
It was a common belief taught by the religious leaders, that such diseases were the result of the victims own sin or was judgment for some sin c omitted by a family member.
There was little hope or encouragement given to anyone in such circumstances.
The usual response would be to leave such a person to fend for themselves by begging.
These four companions were not content to leave their friend to beg, they wanted to see him healed and restored to wholeness.
When they heard Jesus was in town, they seized the opportunity to bring their friend to Jesus.
However, upon their arrival, they found the crowd so congested there was no way they could go through the front entrance.
When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they climbed on the roof where they removed part of the roof and lowered the paralytic on his stretcher.
Then the paralyzed man was lowered down to Jesus, and when Jesus “saw their faith did something that was completely unexpected.
Jesus seeing their faith… This refers to the four friends as well as the paralytic.
In other words, when Jesus saw THEIR faith he turned to the paralytic and says your sins are forgiven.
This was more than what anyone expected. The four friends were simply desiring that their frined be healed so that he could live a normal life. We are not told how the paralytic felt through this whole phase, but I am sure he was equally surprised.
Forgiven of my sins? But I only wanted to be healed.?
Heres the point. Jesus knows our greatest need is forgiveness. Until this is dealt with, a person can never know real wholeness. Jesus begins with the need in the heart and when that is made whole, everything is made right.