The Sweet Christian Bride

Thought for the Week: Mark 2:1-12

by admin on January 8, 2012 in Thought for the Week with No Comments

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, take your mat and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .’ He said to the paralytic,  ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!'” (Mark 2:1-12).

Many teaching points are derived from this beautiful scene in Mark 2, most notably the power of faith, even faith for another when he or she doesn’t have it.  But I confess that I always find myself a little disappointed with Jesus’ response.  If I were the paralytic or his friends, I would  have been hoping for physical healing.  If I had spent an hour digging an arduous hole in a roof and had bothered with the logistics of lowering a person down into a crowd without hurting anyone, I would have felt it a waste of time if Jesus had applauded my faith, forgiven my sin, and dismissed me without giving the very healing I had had faith for in the first place.  In the end, Jesus does heal this paralyzed man’s body, but if the teachers of the law had never challenged Jesus’ authority to heal one’s spirit, would Jesus have offered to heal the man physically?

But this, I recognize when I can eventually pull my emotions out of it, wildly misses the point.  Physical healing is just a fraction of the healing that Jesus offers.  The healing of our spirits, the forgiveness of our sin, so that we may be right before God, is a far greater gift and need.  Even though it takes a daily faith to receive forgiveness, God has already given it to us through His Son Jesus Christ.  Why would I bemoan Jesus’ choice to first heal this man’s spirit when that is the truest need we all have?  Probably because I foolishly desire the instant over the delayed, not to mention that I usually operate in a myopic perspective that centers on me not on God.  Nonetheless, forgiveness is mine if I want it, and it’s yours if you want it, through the grace of Jesus Christ.  It’s not a trifle to be taken for granted but a measure of life worth desperately seeking. 

Lord, so many concerns take first place over my need for You.  Forgive me.  Sit with me, Lord, and sift through my wedding to-do’s, my daily routine, my growing anxieties, my distorted emotions, my physical pains, my shadowed perspective, and my imperfect relationships.  Let the un-urgent and the trivial fall away.  Leave me instead with a vital understanding that my greatest need is You.  Then all else will fall into its proper place on my priority list.  You are enough.  Be enough for me today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

By Lindsay

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