Summary: Who were the men who were willing to step outside the norm and dig a hole in a roof for the benefit of a friend?
As they moved closer to the crowd their hopes begin to sink, what they thought would be a fairly simple task had taken on monumental proportions. When the suggestion came up to take their lame friend to Jesus everyone thought it was a great idea, all they had to do to get their friend to walk was put him on a stretcher carry him across town and have Jesus touch him. But that plan now seemed doomed to failure. The closer they got to the house Jesus was staying in the larger the crowd got and they realized that it would be impossible to break through the wall of people while they were carrying their friend. Their efforts were wasted, their dreams were dashed and their hopes were shattered.
The story actually begins in the first chapter of the book of Mark. After Jesus had called Andrew, Simon Peter, James and John to follow him they made their way to the town of Capernaum, let’s pull up a map here. Capernaum operated as Jesus Head Quarters while he ministered in the Galilee area, and we are told in that while there he stayed in the home of Peter and Andrew. In the first chapter we see Jesus speaking in the Synagogue, casting out unclean spirits and healing the sick, including Peter’s Mother-in-law. Then we are told that he left town for a few days and continued doing the same thing in a different location. And then he returned to Capernaum, presumably back to Peter’s house and it was in this home that the story picks up in chapter 2.
The people have flocked to the house to see the one called Jesus, the one some called the Messiah. There were the sincere, the religious, the sick, the devoted and the curious, you know the ambulance chaser. And there were those who were there to destroy Christ. That was the only reason they had shown up was to find fault with what he said. And all of these people crowded around the front door of Peter’s home presenting a wall of flesh that could not be dismissed or penetrated.
And into the story walk four men carrying a paralysed friend. We don’t know why he was paralysed, whether it was from birth or the result of an accident or an illness or what had happened all we know is that he was paralysed. And when they got to the house it became very apparent very quickly that they weren’t going to be able to get their friend through the mass of people gathered to see Jesus.
Well you know the rest of the story, at least you should Bonnie read it earlier in the service. The four guys heist their friend up to the flat roof of the house, that must have been some ride, and then they tore a hole in the roof and lowered their buddy down in front of Jesus. Well a little bit of a discussion ensued Jesus and makes this incredible statement; he says “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Do you remember that I earlier said that there were those in the crowd who wanted to destroy Jesus? This was all they were waiting for and they started nattering in the corner. “Like who does he think he is? Forgiving sins? Only God can forgive sins, this is blaspheme”
Well Jesus knew what they were saying and he countered with “What is it easier to do to say, your sins are forgiven or to so pick up your mat and walk?” And then he turns to the guy on the mat and says, “Stand up, take your mat, and go home, because you are healed.” That’s the story.
The entire “Your sins are forgiven you” may seem to be a strange way to respond to someone’s physical ailments but 2000 years ago it was a natural starting place. The Jews saw a direct correlation between sin and suffering. You’ll remember that argument from your extensive study of the book of Job. Or maybe not. One of Job’s friends asked the question Job 4:7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed?
The same heresy is around today, just dressed in different clothes, do good and God will bless you.
We are told that the Rabbis of the day had a saying “There is no sick man healed of his sickness until all his sins have been forgiven him.” And the reality is that as important as it was for the man to have a physical healing it was infinitely more important that he have a spiritual healing.
And we all say we believe that but why do more people ask for prayer for their friend’s and relative’s bodies than ask for prayers for their souls? Just wondering. That was what is technically referred to as a tangent, so back to the message.