Summary: An encouragement to unbelievers to get a clean start on the new year by becoming forgiveness, cleansed by the grace and forgiveness people receive when they show their faith in Jesus, as the paralytic did in this story.
Getting a Clean Start in the New Year
Well, we’ve come to the end of one year, and the beginning of a new year.
And, of course, we tend to look back at this point in the year to what has happened. And 2013 certainly has been an eventful year for the Wallace clan, climaxed of course, yesterday, when we married off our daughter Amanda.
And, of course, we look forward to a happy, and happier new year. We always want the new year to be better than the last, and to that end, we’re dreaming and making resolutions. And I want to suggest to all of you here this morning that we do the same in our relationship to the Lord. That we set aside some of the things that we didn’t do so well last year, and make resolutions for a new and better life before the Lord this year.
And to that end this morning, we’re going to look at a passage which speaks just exactly about that—setting aside before God those things in our past that need to be set aside and getting a clean and a new start before God in the new year.
And for that this morning we’re going to take a look at one of the most incredible days in the life of Jesus Christ—incredible not only in terms of what Jesus said and did, but also incredible in terms of what some people did, what five young men did on a very busy day in what had become Jesus’ hometown during his itinerant ministry, Capernaum.
Now Capernaum was a town in Galilee, a beach city and fishing village located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, about 3 miles south of the northern tip of this 12-mile long lake. It was the home of the disciples Peter and Matthew, and it clearly became Jesus’ hometown during the time of his 3-year itinerant ministry as a preacher throughout Israel. That’s evident from both this passage and Matthew 9:1 where it calls this city his hometown.
And Jesus had just become a national sensation; He had just been on one of his preaching tours through Galilee or northern Israel and he had been casting out demons and healing everyone who came to him. The result was that the crush of people around him had become so great that according to the last verse in Mark 1 he could no longer publicly enter any of the villages or cities of Galilee. Instead, he conducted his ministry out in unpopulated areas, and people were coming to him from everywhere in Israel.
In the midst of this, he apparently managed to privately make his way back to Capernaum, but even there the news spread that he was at home. The result was that surging crowds made their way to his house, or at least the house where he was staying. And so many gathered together in this house apparently that there was an absolute jam—the doorway was jammed with people and there was a crowd all around the door and there was absolutely no room for anyone as he taught the people the Word—the Word of God—a sign as to what we ought to be doing in our churches—teaching the Word of God and nothing less and nothing more.
And along come four men carrying a paralytic on a little bed or cot. Obviously, they had heard about Jesus’ healing ministry and were hopeful that their friend, the paralytic, might be healed even as so many others had been. But there was no way anybody in that house or around that door was giving up their spot or making way for these five men to present their friend’s desperate need before Jesus.
But these men were not about to be denied. They were desperate; they were convinced that Jesus was perhaps the one and only solution in the world to their friend's tragic plight, and they were afraid that this might be the one last best chance for their friend to ever live a normal life again. And so they did what for most of us would have been unthinkable.
Now in those days and at that time the typical house in Israel had a flat roof which often functioned as sort of an outdoor patio for the occupants. And there was often an exterior stair case leading up to that roof. Or in many cases in cities there would be a series of houses which were built right next to each other, with little or no space between them. And so there was only a staircase and, at most, a little roof-hopping to do to get to a place immediately above where Jesus was. And since these men could not approach Jesus from below, they decided to approach Him from above. So they began to literally un-roof the roof—that’s exactly the meaning of the Greek here.