A PARALYTIC IS HEALED
As we left off at the end of Mark chapter 1, Jesus cleansed a man who was full of leprosy, and this man told family, friends, even people he didnt know about what Jesus did for him. Leprosy was an incurable disease that could last some 9 years till it finally killed you. Their bodies would rot away and fingers, toes, their nose, ears and-so-on would fall off over time. Now this man who was so close to death was cleansed and his skin was like new. And as this news spread it prevented Jesus from preaching in Capernaum, the crowds were too many. So He goes to the deserted places, and even there the crowds followed Him. That is where we will pick up our story in Mark chapter 2, beginning in verse 1.
1. After a period of time Jesus returned to Capernaum and it seems that He once again is at the house of Peter, preaching the word to all who had gathered. In fact, as the word spread that Jesus was back in town, the house of Peter quickly filled to overflowing. There was no room, no place to sit or stand, and probably people were hanging outside the doors and windows trying to hear the things that Jesus was saying. Why did so many come? Because Jesus preached the good news, He spoke of life, the forgiveness of sins. Who wouldnt want to hear the good news? Obviously not many, because Peters house was packed!
2. Besides the common people who had gathered, we are also going to find out that some of the religious leaders, the Scribes and the Pharisees, were also there. But they were not necessarily there ready to receive what Jesus was saying but they wanted to hear what He had to say because His following was growing and they were looking for some fault to catch Him and to put Jesus out of business. In Luke chapter 5 we are told that they traveled as far away as Jerusalem to see this Jesus. And because they came with a critical heart, their lives were not changed, they did not receive the good news, even though Luke tells us that the same power was also available to them if they would only receive it. Luke put it this way in Luke 5:17, "Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them." Many people are the same way today. They come to hear the words of God with a critical heart and they too dont receive His healing power in their lives.
1. Picture this in your mind. This man who couldnt walk, he was paralyzed, is being carried on a mat, which was the bed of a poor person, and four of his friends are bringing him to Jesus. He couldnt get there on his own. And as they arrive the room is full to overflowing, no one will let them in, and at this point they could have just left. They could have given up and went home, trying again on another day. But not these guys, they were determined, they were on a mission to see their friend healed of this paralysis.
You see, the mind set of these guys was, "If there is a will, then there is a way!" And they were very determined and found a way to bring their friend to Jesus. On the side of Peters house, as a well as most houses during that period of time, was a staircase leading up to a roof that was fully functional. The roof was made up of a composite of grass, clay, clay tiles and laths. And you would spend your evenings, many times, sitting upon the roof, which was flat, so you could enjoy the cool breeze of the evening.
Now it must have been very difficult to carry their friend up this staircase to the roof, but once they got up there, the work was not done yet, they still needed to get their friend to Jesus. Also, keep in mind that this is Peters house, Jesus is teaching, and the place is packed full of people. And as these guys began ripping the roof off Peters house, the clay, dust, grass must have been falling down upon Peter, upon Jesus, and even upon the people.
Im sure the people inside were yelling for these guys to stop. Im sure Peter, with his temper, was not very excited to see his roof torn apart, his home destroyed. I would not be happy at that. And once these guys broke through, they lowered their friend down, and I believe he was laying right in front of Jesus. And Im sure at that point the room grew quickly quiet, seeing this poor paralyzed man. Im sure the religious leaders werent that concerned for this man, but what Jesus was going to do, how they can find fault in His actions so they can put a stop to His growing popularity.
2. Look at the faith of these four friends. They believed that if they can get their friend to Jesus he would be healed. Look at their behavior for it speaks of their great faith. Does our behavior, our actions, reflect what we believe to be true? It should!
3. Now we have spoken of how Peter, the people, the religious leaders might have responded to what was taking place, but how did Jesus respond? Remember He was right in the middle of teaching when the roof was removed and this man was lowered down. Im sure Jesus was covered with some of the grass and dirt that had fallen. Now we dont have to guess how Jesus responded, for in verse 5 we are told, and it is far different than everyone else.
1. Jesus was not upset, irritated, but delighted to see their faith. And Jesus sees this poor man, lying there before Him, and He says, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." Now Im sure his friends were thinking, and maybe even speaking these words, "No, heal him, make him whole again. Make him stand once again upon his feet. That is why we brought him here to see you." And you know what, that is exactly what Jesus was doing, healing him, making him whole once again by forgiving his sins.
2. Interestingly enough, most paralysis in those days was do to syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease. And it is very possible that this man was suffering from this and he had reached the point of paralysis. His sickness was a direct result of sin, but not all sickness is. And we see here Jesus offering him forgiveness of his sins. You see, it was the faith of his friends that brought him to Jesus, but it was his own faith that brought the forgiveness of sins. For forgiveness of sins can only come to those who repent and come to Jesus. Jesus is dealing with that which is most important, that which matters most, HIS SINS!
3. Now this was a radicle statement by Jesus, because only God can forgive sins. And guess who is going to pick up on this, what Jesus has said? The religious leaders!
1. Get the picture here. The room is packed and yet these religious leaders were sitting down, probably up close, and I dont think they arrived early. Instead of giving up their seats, others probably gave them their seats, for they were the religious leaders. It didnt matter if someone needed to sit down, they were more concerned with their own comfort than the needs of others. They got up for no one.
2. They were right, only God can forgive sins. Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." The thing they refused to see, was that Jesus is God and thus, He can forgive sins.
1. Which one is easier to say? That your sins are forgiven, of course. You see, it would be very difficult, impossible to prove or disprove. But if you healed someone, the evidence would be right there for all to see, and if you didnt, you would be exposed as a fraud. So Jesus, to authenticate what He has done, forgiven this mans sins, says in verse 10...
1. Jesus heals this man who was paralyzed in front of everyone. Why? Because the people, the religious leaders would now have to decide for themselves who Jesus is. You see, the evidence was right before their eyes. They could either accept it or reject it, but the evidence truly speaks for itself. Jesus is God for God has the power not only to heal people physically, but to forgive their sins.
2. Paul, in II Corinthians 3:2-3 says, "You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart." In other words, we are living epistles for the world to look at and see what God has done. The transforming power of God in our lives. What do people see when they look at you? They should be seeing the character of Christ flowing through you.
1. Jesus tests this mans faith by telling him to stand - and he did. He then tests his obedience by telling him to go home, probably to go show his family what has taken place - which he also did. God also asks us to walk by faith as He leads and to be obedient to His Word.
2. Now Im sure this man was jumping up and down, dancing. His four friends were probably jumping up and down on the roof, shouting and yelling and as they did, more dirt and grass probably began to fall on the heads of the people below once again. But now their attitude was different. The people were probably going nuts, they never saw such things happen before. And the result is they praised and glorified God. That should be the result of anything we do for God, it should bring praise and glory to Him.
3. Now the religious leaders were as hard as stone. Im sure they were still in their seats, emotionless, unmoved by what they saw, and not thinking of praising God for what they have seen, but how can they get Jesus on this one and stop what He is doing, to destroy the following that was growing for this man who can heal and forgive sins. And for the most part the religious leaders refused to turn to Jesus. They did not want to admit they were wrong. They did not want to admit they were sinners in need of a Savior. Their pride prevented them to see with their hearts. Make no mistake about it, we are all accountable to God for the decisions we make, just as the religious leaders were.
4. Jesus used miracles to authenticate His ministry, but He came to bring the good news to a people who had no hope, no good news. And thus, as we move into verse 13 next week, we see Jesus teaching and preaching once again!