Summary: In Mark 2:1-12, we have a miracle story about a paralyzed man whose "conscience" seemed to be "troubling him". ... Jesus enables the paralyzed man to experience healing as forgiveness.
TEAMWORK IN TRANSIT TO JESUS
Text: Mark 2:1-12
A man consulted a doctor. "I’ve been misbehaving, Doc, and my conscience is troubling me," he complained.
"And you want something that will strengthen your will power?" asked the doctor.
"Well, no," the man said, "I was thinking of something that would weaken my conscience". (Roy B. Zuck. The Speaker’s Quote Book. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997, p. 353). In Mark 2:1-12, we have a miracle story about a paralyzed man whose "conscience" seemed to be "troubling him". In the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was not uncommon for people to connect suffering with sin. The paralytic in Mark 2:1-12 had paralysis that was the end result of sin. His suffering and his sin were somehow connected. That is why Jesus enables the paralyzed man to experience healing as forgiveness.
SIN CAN BE CONFINING
Sin can be confining because of the guilt that goes along with it. We are not told what sin the paralytic was guilty of in this miracle story. The only information that we are given is that he was paralyzed because of his sin. It is possible for guilt to cause us to have possible health problems. That is why our guilt can eat away at us whenever we have done something wrong. Therefore, guilt can grow and grow and become somewhat paralyzing. Guilt can become paralyzing in a number of ways. It can cause unrest in one’s spirit leading to ulcers, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, insomnia and so on. In one way or another guilt can become a prison for the "consciences of those sinners who continue to be troubled by their misbehavior".
There is the story of a taxpayer who needed to ease his conscience. "A taxpayer wrote to the Internal Revenue Service, "I have not been able to sleep well for two years. Here is my check for $1,200 for back taxes." He even signed his name, then added a short P.S. "If I don’t sleep better in a week, I will send you another $1,200. He had to do something to relieve his guilt, but he didn’t want to do too much". (Roy B. Zuck. The Speaker’s Quote Book. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997, pp. 182-183).
Sin becomes confining when guilt oppresses a sinner. Someone has said that the paralytic is a representative of the human race who was paralyzed and helpless in his own strength. (Leslie B. Flynn. The Miracles Of Jesus. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990, p. 69). It is obvious that guilt is one of Satan’s greatest weapons that he uses to discourage people. Satan tries to use our guilt against us because as long as we are prisoners of our own guilt, we are fugitives who cannot experience the liberating power of God’s grace! This is one of Satan’s most subtle lies!
THE SINNER AND FRIENDS
The paralytic had friends. A friend is a person who is there through both the thick and the thin. A friend is a person that you can depend on. Proverbs 18:24 says, "There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother" (RSV). The paralytic was a lucky man because he had four friends. On the contrary, as someone has said, "I am convinced that being on a stretcher is not what destroys people. Rather, it is being on the stretcher and believing no one cares". (Michael Slater. Stretcher Bearers. Ventura: Regal Books, 1986, p. 46). It is the people who do not have friends that face hard times without any one to offer any kind of help.
The friends brought the paralytic to Jesus because he could not bring himself. Those who were paralyzed in that time in history did not have the luxury of a wheelchair. The only way that a person who was paralyzed could have gotten around anywhere back then would have been only by the help of another or others who would have carried him or her. These friends had obviously heard about Jesus and his ability to heal. That is why the friends of this paralytic carried him to Jesus because he could not carry himself.
These four friends went the extra mile in making sure that their paralyzed friend got to Jesus. They had great compassion for their paralyzed friend because when they saw that there was no way that they could get into the house where Jesus was, they found a way around that obstacle. They overcame the obstacle by lowering their friend on his mat through a hole that they made in the roof where he would be right in front of Jesus. As someone has said houses in Palestine back then had a staircase that would lead to the roofs of houses which were usually flat because they were used as a "place of rest and quiet". (William Barclay. The Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel Of Mark. Revised Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, p. 47). These four friends had teamwork in getting their friend in transit to Jesus! They did not just sit back and tell their friend how much they cared---they illustrated how much they cared when they carried him to Jesus to be healed! They even made sure that their friend got to Jesus in spite of the obstacle of the crowd. They went the extra mile for their friend who was paralyzed because they had heard about how Jesus could heal and wanted to be sure that their friend got healed.