“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 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? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 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
I love this miracle of Jesus. I also admire the effort the four friends took in getting their paralyzed friend to Jesus. The house was so full yet they were determined. They dug out a section of the roof and lowered their friend down to Jesus. That was a miracle in itself! (Imagine the interruption of debris falling down upon and around the head of Jesus.)
But the true miracle comes when Jesus heals the paralyzed man and forgives him of his sins. Were his sins related to his paralytic state? Did something happen that resulted in this injury? Did he sin and thus was paralyzed?
We don’t know the full story. What we do know is that Jesus brought healing to this man. The religious leaders were beside themselves when Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” For no on can forgive sins but God alone — and Jesus would agree. For he IS God. They thought Jesus was committing blasphemy and they call Jesus out.
Jesus replies to the accusation by saying, “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk?’” Jesus is awesome. He knows just want to say and what other people are thinking. And before he allowed anyone else to speak, Jesus says, “But I want you to know that the son of Man (He’s referring to himself) has authority on earth to forgive sins…. I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
Jesus drops the mic. He’s done talking, now he’s taking action. And what these people see before their eyes is a man who was once paralyzed getting up and walking. Scripture tells us — “This amazed everyone and they praised God saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Jesus is not finished performing miracles. This is only nine out of thirty-seven we will examine. But he is also doing a work today. In our lives, in our communities and in our world – God is on the move. Sinners are finding forgiveness, the sick are finding relief, the broken are finding hope.
The same Jesus who told the paralyzed man to take up his mat and walk, is here with us. Turn to him. Trust in him. Ask him for a miracle in your life.
“O Lord God, you good. Even when my love fails, your love remains stead fast. I am but a sinner, saved by grace. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your power and might. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me up and redeem my life. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen