Summary: Sometimes faith means moving through obstacles. We also see healing and forgiveness go hand in hand. The friends have enough faith to get the paralytic before Jesus - Then Jesus proves he has the authority to forgive.
Last week, as we ended chapter one, we saw that Jesus is the authority. This week, as we start chapter two, we see an intensification of this theme, Jesus is the divine authority, for not only does He have the authority to heal, as we saw in chapter one, but he also has the authority to forgive sins. This, on the outset of His ministry, turns the religious authorities against him, for in their mind Jesus commits blasphemy.
As we look at this passage, the first thing that jumps out at us is the four friends of the paralytic, they are bold aren’t they? Now it is clear that the four friends of the paralytic were Presbyterians…see, they had to be Presbyterians, for if the four men were Anglicans, they would tell the man, “Before we bring you to Jesus, we’ll have to check to see if it is alright the bishop first”. If the four friends were Unitarians, they would tell the man, “When Jesus heals someone, he isn’t healing in a literal way, it is just metaphorical, so there isn’t any sense in bringing you to Jesus. Anyway, this whole thing about healing just a story, you shouldn’t really get your hopes up.” If the four friends were Dispensationalists, they would say to the man, “Healing is not for our day and time, you see, those kinds of things just don’t happen in our day.” If the four friends were Baptists, they would say to the man, “Are you baptized?” If they were Methodists they would have said to the man…ask the Anglicans. And if the four friends were Pentecostals, they would say to the man, “Ok, We’ll bring you to see Jesus, but only, if you have enough faith?”. But because the four friends were Presbyterians, they said to the man, “It appears that you are predestined to be healed, so let’s get going”.
Yes, I am aware that there were not to be any Presbyterians for another 1500 years…
Jesus has been traveling all over the region and he returns now to Capernaum. Jesus has left the town of Nazareth and it appears that He makes Capernaum His new home, as verse one states that, “he had come home”. Though it is not stated, the house is most likely Simon and Andrew’s house. The four fishermen and Jesus have traveled around the area and have come back home and everyone knows that they have arrived. The same thing happens to Jesus that happened the last time he was in town, all kinds of people show up. They fill the house, and the whole area around the house. Remember, we saw last week that the people were not coming to Jesus for the right reasons, that is why he left the town. Jesus has come to preach a gospel of confrontation, confrontation of our sin, but these people are coming because they heard Jesus was a great teacher, and that he could do miracles, they are not in any way concerned with their sinful lives. So the scene is this: Jesus is inside the house teaching about God, and people are packed around the house hearing him through the open door and through windows. It is a very compact situation.
And then the four friends and the paralytic arrive. They are late – this is the second sign that they are Presbyterians….You can’t get around the fact that they were late. You know, if they had arrived early, or even if they were on time, they wouldn’t be in this situation, would they? They are in this dilemma because they couldn’t get it together. Jesus could have told them, “your lack of planning, does not constitute an emergency for me”. I believe that some of the most fervent prayers offered in modern day life are the result of our being late….”Lord Just let the light stay green…Lord, a close parking place….Don’t let the police see me speeding…”you know what I’m talking about. A lot of the problems we have in our lives, to our dismay, are not caused by others – they are dreamed up and executed by none other than ourselves. I think if we looked to modern day pop psychologists we would be told that these problems we build up for ourselves are a result of our own immaturity, marginalization, a difficult childhood or our economic status…but if we asked Jesus Christ why we cause so many problems for our selves Jesus would reply, “It is because of your sin”. Yes, it is because of our sin. Remember, we saw in chapter one of Mark that Jesus had come to confront our sin. We’ll see this strongly as we work through this Scripture this morning. They were late. It doesn’t say why they were late, but in spite of the reason, the four friends are there with the paralytic man.