08 February 2010

Jesus Forgives Sins

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”   Mark 2:1-12

  •  Once again we find Jesus teaching "the word" to a packed house (literally!).
  • What loyal friends the paralyzed man had.  They were probably deeply disappointed that they missed a chance for Jesus to heal him the last time he was in town.  That must have been hard.  Clearly they would not miss the opportunity again.  They wanted their friend healed in the worst way, and they knew that the only way it would happen was if Jesus would have access to their friend.
  • Jesus is a dangerous person to have in your home.  First, there's early morning knockers.  Then, not only is there so many house guests that the house is inaccessible, but now people are so desperate to see Jesus, they dig through the roof.  What strange inconveniences happen when Jesus is in my home or your home?
  • So, the friends who would do anything to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus, go through the painstaking effort.  They carry their friend to the roof.  They dig a hole through the roof.  They find whatever they can to carefully lower their friend to where Jesus is.  That must have been sweet relief when the job was done.  What excitement they must have felt when Jesus stopped teaching and saw the man.  Then Jesus said, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  Huh?  If I was one of the friends, this response would have bewildered me.  Yeah, that's great Jesus, but we didn't go through all this trouble just to have his sins forgiven.  Can't you see that he can't walk?
  • "Jesus saw their faith."  Their faith exhibited in the action they took that demonstrated their belief that Jesus would heal their friend.  Faith isn't head-knowledge, it's belief that guides how we live and act.
  • We have read about Jesus healing many, but this is the first healing we read about where Jesus says, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  Why?  Maybe there is something in the man's life that has to be confronted.  Maybe, Jesus is making a larger point to the friends and the crowd that sin is a larger issue than any physical ailment we have.  We are not specifically told here.  Sin is "missing the mark".  Sins is living against our Father's laws and therefore taking away from the abundant life we were created for.  Sin ALWAYS has disastrous consequences no matter if we see them today, tomorrow, a lifetime from now or don't realise the consequences at all.
  • I'm not so hard on the religious leaders present.  I would have the same questions.  Who is this guy to forgive sins?  But, Jesus is hard on their mental ponderings, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?"  Maybe we should find more joy in sins being forgiven?  It's not as flashy as seeing a blind man see or a lame man walk, but it's so much more important.  To live free of shame and guilt is an awesome feeling. 
  • "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"  Has authority on earth?  Why make that distinction "on earth" if he is merely a really special prophet?
  • Jesus answers their questions about his authority to forgive sins by showing his heavenly power.  And, the crowd has the right response.  They allow the man to carry out Jesus' commands by letting him out of the house and then they gave God the glory.  For every person who follows Jesus, this is the point.  Let every teaching, healing, loving act toward our neighbours point not to us, for who are we anyway?  But, let each of our actions give the response of glory toward our Heavenly Father.

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