Summary: Jesus heals the paralytic
Obstacles to Healing
Series: Markers Along the Narrow Way
November 4, 2012
READ Mark 2:1-12
So a few days later, after Jesus had called his 1st disciples (1st of many…you included)…AFTER He had already driven out an evil spirit with authority that no one had ever seen before…AFTER he had healed many at Simon Peter’s house…(including Peters mother-in-law)...He comes back to his home base in Capernaum and the word of his arrival spreads like wild-fire! Back then, life in a small town was very public. They lit. had an open-door policy, and you were welcome to walk in whenever you wanted. And so people started cramming in to the place where Jesus was speaking.
Of course not only were they there to hear him preach, but they wanted to be healed of their diseases. If Jesus was in town and you had the chance of having your sickness healed (back problems, knees, cancer, skin conditions etc.) would you go? Sure you would! Unfortunately, there were some “Johnny Come Lately’s” who had heard what was going on and had carried their crippled friend to Jesus…but they couldn’t get near him. Yet, that didn’t stop them! Very determined bunch! No, instead of using the front door, they climbed up the side stairs that led to the roof-top. (People liked to hang out up there at night even sleep, like an extra room). They began to open up a hole. (Explain roof construction) As they peeled away the layers of palm branch and mud eventually made a hole big enough for their friend to fit through.
Meanwhile, Jesus is teaching in the room below…when all the sudden He hears some noise above His head. Roofing material falls from ceiling and 4 men poke their heads through the hole and look around. They spot Jesus, (& without even asking permission), they start lowering their friend down on a stretcher. Now I’ve had some pretty crazy interruptions while I’ve been preaching before, (people falling, going to bathroom, nursing home example…Lady: “Shut up!”) but this one takes the cake!
Whether he wanted it or not, the owner of this house just got a new skylight in his home! He might have been a little upset…but Jesus was impressed! In fact in all 3 gospels say that…”Jesus saw their faith”. Jesus loved it when people would show tangible faith! Now put yourself in the place of the paralytic, if you’d just crashed the party and were lowered down into the middle of a crowed room, how would you feel? I can tell you how I’d feel… embarrassed! I’d feel a little fearful, a little anxious, wondering what Jesus’ reaction would be.
But Jesus doesn’t bat an eye…he just looks at him and says…”Son, your sins are forgiven”. Kind of a strange thing to say isn’t it? I mean, what if went into doctor for a physical condition wanting to be cured and instead of prescribing medicine to you, he looks at you and says…”Your sins are forgiven?” I think I might be a little offended! I’d say, “Doc, I didn’t come here to get your moral judgment…I came to get well!” I mean, what does sickness have to do with sin? Well, in many cases…a lot. (Stress, bitterness and guilt have been linked to all kinds of physical ailments…from cancer, to heart problems, to headaches…you name it. There IS a link between spiritual, emotional and physical disease.
But especially in the minds of people back then. In Jesus day, people kind of assumed that if you were sick, you’d committed some kind of a sin (whether you had of not). In fact a popular Rabbi saying stated, “There is no sick man healed of his sickness until all his sins have been forgiven him.” We see that attitude in the words of Jobs friends. It was just assumed that a sick man was someone that God was angry with.
But Jesus wasn’t angry with this man…he was just being honest with him. In his case, there WAS a sin issue that was causing his paralysis, and so he dealt with it!
Seems pretty straightforward…but wait just a minute! We have another problem! The “teachers of the law”. These were the ‘sin police’ of their day. It was their job to make sure the people lived according to the O.T. law and to be on the lookout for any false prophets who deviated from their theological view points. So they were sent out as a kind of ‘scouting party’ to check up on Jesus and make sure he didn’t do or say anything heretical. After all, he was gaining a lot of influence with people and they had to make sure he wasn’t leading them astray.
And when they heard Jesus say to this paralytic …”Your sins are forgiven!”…their alarms went off! They thought, “Whoops! There you go Jesus! You just stepped in it!” I mean to claim to forgive sins was something only God to do, and so to say that you could do that…was a claim to be God. Which of course was blasphemy and according to Lev.24:16 punishable with death by stoning.