Summary: 3rd in series on Jesus’ priorities. This shows we all hurt, and God wants to heal us.
Mark 2:1-12 – More Than Forgiven
It’s hunting season and two friends were out hunting. One was always bragging about what a good shot he was. About that time a duck flew over. He took aim and fired… the duck flew on unscathed.
He paused a minute and said, "My friend, you are now witnessing a miracle. There files a dead duck."
Today we are looking at miracles, at least one in particular. As we continue on in our 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting, with the theme of “Aligning our Lives to Christ’s Passion”, we come to this week’s theme – People are hurting. The 1st week we saw that people are important to god. Last week we saw that people need each other. This week we see that people hurt. I want us to turn in our Bibles to Mark 2 (p708). We’re going to look at a story that is also found in Matt.9 and Luke 5. Read.
Now, let’s look at what’s going on here. Jesus is still early on in His earthly ministry. He’s been preaching for a year, maybe a little more. And His popularity is growing. People love to hear His preaching. But soon, when they grew not to like what He was saying, they tried to get rid of Him. Not much different with church folk today. Easier to blame the messenger than accept the message.
Anyway, Jesus was filling buildings with his preaching, and He wound up back in his hometown of Capernaum. He was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, but spent His adult life in coming back to Capernaum. And this particular time, He filled the building. Whether it was a personal residence or whether it was a synagogue – a Jewish place of worship – is hard to say. Whatever the case, Jesus packed the place. Everybody loves a good show, and Jesus could do that. But the best was yet to come.
Now, this place was so crowded that it was standing-room-only, even to the point of not letting anybody else in. Which would be a problem for one paralyzed man, who wanted to get to Jesus to be healed of his lameness. Well, good thing for him, the man had 4 good friends. And not just good friends, but creative as well. What they did was go around the outside of the building to the outside stairs. From pictures I’ve seen, the stairs were like a fire escape. The stairs ran up along the wall of the stone building to the roof.
Now, the roof was not made of stone or even brick, but rather thatched straw. It’s possible that the roof had a trap door, or it’s possible that they started from nothing. Either way, the man’s friends, after carrying him up to the roof, tunneled a hole big enough for him to be let down through horizontally.
Now, look at v5 – I think it’s significant. No doubt the paralytic man had faith; otherwise, he would not have gone through the hassle of it all. But Jesus commends the man’s friends for their faith. Understand this: it was their faith that brought the man to place of forgiveness. I wonder: if the salvation of the people around me depended upon my faith, how close to the Lord would they get?
So Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” In Luke, Jesus calls him “friend”. It was a term of affection, a term of fondness. A term that shows that just perhaps, God isn’t quite as angry at sinners as the church has made Him out to be over the years. Just perhaps God is happy and forgiving when a wayward child returns, and is not quite so adamant to prove to him or her that they were wrong for all those years. At any rate, Jesus declared the man’s sins to be forgiven.
Well, well. This didn’t sit well with the religious folk who were sitting there next to Jesus. They obviously had a place of honor at Jesus’ side. But it wasn’t because they all agreed with each other. No, Jesus had plenty of rebuke for religious folk. In fact, he saved his hardest rebukes for church-folk, because they were the ones who should have known better. And they got quite upset over the fact that this man claimed to have forgiven sins. After all, who but God can forgive sins? By Jesus claiming to be able to do something only God can do. It’s called blasphemy, and it was a serious offense.
Jesus knew their thoughts and responded to them. He asked the question: v9. He didn’t say what was easier to do, just what was easier to say. I mean, it’s easy enough to say, “You’re forgiven”. It’s hard to prove with your senses. Your eyes won’t really tell if another person is forgiven. But your eyes will tell you easily enough if someone can walk or not. It’s easier to tell someone they are forgiven than to tell them to get up and walk.