Summary: how Jesus heals us spiritually and physically
February 23, 2003 Mark 2:1-12
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered 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 paralytic, 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 and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “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 the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins....” He said to the paralytic, “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!”
It has begun again, my annual pilgrimage to the gymnasium. For several weeks I have been subjecting my body to the disciplines of water and weights, trying to keep from forming into a pear. But this time, it’s going to be different. I’m going to stay the course. I’m going to get in shape and stay in shape. I want to be healthy enough to be able to play sports with my children without getting tired after five minutes. That’s my goal. But there are many obstacles - of time, energy, and will power.
God compared spiritual health to physical health - as Paul encouraged us to run the race. Just as there are many obstacles to getting or staying physically healthy, the same goes spiritually. Sometimes we are very excited about getting to know our Lord better, where other times we kind of let it slide. On top of that, we have supernatural obstacles in the devil and his demons. We have personal obstacles in our own flesh. And innumerable obstacles are also in the world. But these are not obstacles that cannot be overcome. Today, we look at the healing of the paralytic, we’ll see how -
Jesus Overcomes the Obstacles to Healthy Living
I. Through friends
Our story begins where we left off last week. Jesus’ fame was beginning to spread - especially after the leper told people that he was a miracle healer. And so, A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered 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 paralytic, carried by four of them. The focus of the story is mainly on this last phrase - the paralytic. One commentator explains what this is -
The "universal" palsy, called also "paraplegia", or "paraplexia", is a general immobility of all the muscles that receive nerves from the cerebellum, except those of the head__its cause is usually supposed to reside in the ventricles of the brain, or in the root of the spinal marrow.__The "lateral" palsy, called also "hemiplegia", is the same disease with the "paraplegia", only that it affects but one side of the body. Its cause is the same, only restrained to one side of the brain, or spinal marrow. The "partial" palsy is where some particular part, or member, alone is affected; as, for instance, where the motion of the arm, or leg, is destroyed. Now this man’s disease seems to be the perfect and general palsy, which affects the whole body, or the "paraplegia", which reaches every part but the head; whereby all sense, as well as motion, are destroyed.
His situation was completely hopeless.
But I want to focus for a moment on his friends. They didn’t like to see this man - their friend - to lay their unable to move. They wanted him to have a better life, so they took him to Jesus. I don’t know how big this paralytic had become from inactivity, but it took four of them to carry him on a mat to get to Jesus. When they got to the house where Jesus was, they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd. So what did they do? They made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. Palestinian houses were built with flat roofs and outside stairs up to the roofs. The roofs were constructed of tiles and covered with sod. These men were determined to get their friend to Jesus, so they carried him up stairs, got their fingers dirty - dug through the sod - and lowered him down to Jesus.