And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:2-5
Jesus’ reaction here is curious. He is moved not by the faith of the paralytic (although that very well may have been present) but by the man’s friends’ faith. He sees an obviously ill man, and his first concern is for the state of his soul. What are we to make of this?
As with most scripture, there is more than one lesson to be learned here. The boldness of the people who brought in the paralytic shows their faith in Christ. Jesus “saw their faith”, was pleased by it and healed the man they had struggled so greatly for. This is a wonderful example of how each of us should put our own faith into practice. We are not called to love our neighbours by merely being nice to them; we also have a God-given responsibility to BRING OUR NEIGHBOURS TO CHRIST.
To understand why Jesus would say, “your sins are forgiven”, you need to know that the Jews believed as we do, that only God can forgive sins however they also thought that a person’s illness was caused by his sin. When Jesus says, “your sins are forgiven” he shows the crowd that in healing the soul they cannot see, he has also healed the body, which they do see. Really, he shows that he can do both, and that he is God!
Challenge of the Week
It is likely that the large crowd surrounding Jesus surprised the men carrying the Paralytic. They would have arrived unprepared. Who would have helped them in their struggle to the roof? Who would have supplied the rope necessary to lower him down? It was through the combined efforts of many that one was brought to Jesus.
This is another example of how Jesus can use each and every one of us to do His work. Sometimes we see the fruits of our labour, more often we do not. This week make yourself available to Jesus. Supply the rope, so to speak, that will allow someone else to receive God’s blessing.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”