The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 11
2When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So 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. 3Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. 4And 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. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8At 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? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— 11‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ 12And 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 2:1-12Jesus is at home preaching the word. So many people had gathered that even the doors were crowded. Four men carried a paralytic to Jesus for healing, but they couldn't get near him. So picture this. They climb up on the roof, carry up the paralytic and dig a hole and let the man down through the roof. They dig a whole in Jesus' roof who does that and to the Son of God. I don't know how you would respond but if my roof just opened up, I would probably not be feeling all that compassionate. When Jesus saw their faith (the men, the friends, not the paralytic). Jesus moved by their faith, says to the paralytics, "You're sins are forgiven."
There must have been a look on the crowds face. You know the look, the one that says you aren't following the rules, you aren't doing it the way it's always been done. Jesus saw clearly within his spirit their thoughts. For the scribes following the rule - God alone can forgive - was important for their faith. They were trying to keep the rules that kept them from falling to empire and becoming Roman. But Jesus wants us to think about the rules, for if they are preventing us from showing compassion or acting for justice, the rules need to be changed. Jesus asked which is easier to forgive sins or say pick up your mat and walk.
Jesus who could also see what that man needed knew that he needed to hear more than pick up your mat and walk. The man was being held back by something more. By saying your sins are forgiven - Jesus touched the raw parts within the man's heart. He provided not just physical healing, but mental and emotional healing. By saying your sins are forgiven, Jesus was affirming that nothing could separate him from the love of God. For the man can now walk, he has experienced God's love. For the crowd this becomes a chance to see the dawning kingdom. The crowd is amazed and praises God.
Find a comfortable spot to sit and start breathing in and out deeply and slowly. As you breath, hear the words. "Your sins are forgiven." As the worries and regrets come into your heart, hear - "your sins are forgiven." Let the people you have harmed, the actions you regret come before you and let them be washed clean with the words - "your sins are forgiven." Amen.
Everyday Dave Matthews Band