Summary: Jesus forgives
Mk 2: 1-12 The healing of the paralytic man
Some things are hard to believe until you see them with your own eyes
1. I wonder if you have ever imagined what the scene was like in the story that was read to us this afternoon.
Jesus was “at home” and the crowds flocked to hear him.
He was probably staying at Simon Peter’s house in Capernaum.
Indeed when Maddy and I went to Israel in January 2000, we saw the site where Peter’s house is reputed to have been in Capernaum.
Four men brought their friend to be healed by Jesus. What faith they must have had in Jesus.
Question: Any ideas why they decided to bring their friend to Jesus?
Answer: I wonder if a clue can be found at the end of the previous chapter, Mk Chapter 1.
There we read that Jesus performed many miracles (Mk 1 29-34 and Mk 1. 40-43).
Had they perhaps seen the sick and the demon possessed healed or had they seen the man healed of leprosy?
We’ll never know – but I think there is a good chance that they had.
But for whatever reason, the man’s friends wanted to bring him to Jesus to be healed.
But they could not get into the house where Jesus was.
Why - because of the mass of people around Jesus. So they went up on the roof and let him down through the roof.
2. Have you ever wondered how they did that?
If you tried to get up on the roof of my house carrying a friend on a stretcher - you’d probably break your neck, because of the slope on my roof.
And if you succeeded, you’d have quite a job taking the tiles off.
However in Palestine in Jesus’ day – as indeed in many houses of the Middle East today, roofs were flat and generally had stairs going up along on the outside wall.
Roofs were used for rest and quiet, for drying clothes and storing things. We read in other parts of the Bible of how roofs were used.
In I Kings 17, we read about Elijah living on the roof.
In Acts 10, Peter is up on the roof praying.
The roof was usually made of beams about
3 feet apart.
These beams would be filled with twigs, then packed with clay and covered with dirt.
It would have been easy to dig between the beams without doing much damage to the house.
And it would have then been easy to lower the paralysed man to Jesus.
Can I have a volunteer to try and balance this piece wood on their finger?
1. Can you still balance it if I put a piece of string on it?
2. Can you still balance it if I put a coin on it?
3. Can you balance it if I add this hammer to the coin and the piece of string?
Who thinks I can do it?
Come on show me how to do it.
(See Trick at end of sermon)
You see you thought that I could do it – but you weren’t really sure.
Jesus in the story read to us this afternoon told the Jews around him that the sins of the man were forgiven.
They knew in theory that sins could be forgiven – but that the only person who could do it was God.
But they didn’t believe that he could forgive sins.
Some of you didn’t believe that I could balance the hammer on my finger. However you believed hat I could do it when you saw me do it.
Others of you thought I might be able to balance the hammer on the piece of wood – because I asked the question. However you weren’t sure. When I showed you I could do it – you really believed me)
The Jews didn’t believe that Jesus could forgive sins so Jesus said:
“Which do you think is easier – to say that a man’s sins are forgiven (which you can’t prove because you don’t see anything happen) or to say take up your mat and walk (where you can prove it – the man either gets up and walks or he doesn’t)
But to show you that I have the authority to say your sins are forgiven - Jesus turned to the paralysed man and said: Take up your mat and walk. (Mk 2,9 & 10)
And walk he did.
Just as I gave you proof that I can balance the hammer on the piece of wood, so Jesus gave them proof that he could forgive sins, by making the man walk.
The proof of the pudding was in the eating
God has called us, like the four friends in our story today to bring our friends and neighbours to Jesus for healing – spiritual healing – which forgiveness brings.