“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” Mark 2:5.
Picture this scene: Jesus returns to Capernaum, the home base for His ministry. Immediately a large crowd surrounds Him. He’s inside the house, and all sorts of people block the door. Four guys try to get through the crowd but can’t. They’re so determined, however, to bring their ill friend to Jesus that they carry him up on the housetop, cut a hole in the roof, and lower him down.
Jesus looks up. He sees a hole in the ceiling! But He totally gets what’s going on. Immediately, He sizes up the situation and recognizes a tremendous show of faith.
If He says anything to the sick guy’s friends, Mark does not mention it. Instead Jesus speaks to the whole situation. Instantly, He goes above a crowd of concerns and cuts to the deepest need.
He says, “My Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Wow! The sick guy has not said or done one thing but lay there. Maybe he had faith in God, maybe not. We don’t know. Nevertheless, the biblical text does not imply in any way that the guy is protesting.
Whether the man is too sick to object to being lowered through a roof, we don’t know. We just know he’s there – immobilized, paralyzed, weak, and powerless, but not helpless. He is not without help.
His friends help. Jesus helps. God helps. Forgiveness helps.
Right away, Jesus gets to the heart of the problem. He forgives the sins – the errors, the mistakes, the bad choices, and anything that has contributed in any way to making this person an invalid.
What an interesting word – invalid – or, is it in-valid?
Either way, Jesus accepts, validates, and ultimately mobilizes this person: by speaking to him, by forgiving him, by healing him, and by sending him back into society.
As you can imagine, this whole scene causes quite a stir. People gasp. Jaws drop. Eyes widen. And for a moment, no one knows what to say. Even a few super-religious people, who place their faith in the law rather than in love, seem dumbfounded by the event.
Jesus knows this. He knows in His Spirit exactly what their hearts think. So, before they say a single word about what they are thinking, Jesus asks them why they’re thinking what they’re thinking.
“Which is easier,” He says, “to tell this man his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up, take up his mat, and walk?”
Who can answer such a question?
Very likely, the stunned crowd stayed silent.
“Well,” Jesus went on to say, “I just want all of you to know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth.”
Then, turning to the paralyzed man, Jesus said, “I Am telling you (right here, right now): Take your mat and go home.”
And, of course, he did.
As the man left the room, healed and forgiven, the amazed crowd began praising God and saying, “Well, I never saw anything like that before!”
We might say the same, but what do we really see? As we reread this second chapter of Mark:
See how the faith of other people can bring us (to) the help we need?
See how Jesus can size up any situation, quickly and correctly, whether we tell Him about it or not?
See how Jesus recognizes faith when He sees it, even if it seems small to us?
Oh, look at the power and authority Jesus has on earth! See how He can forgive us, heal us, and even know what we think of Him?
And look at how Jesus gets down to the real problem, even when we seem passive or do not know what we need.
See how Jesus validates the worth of the most seemingly in-valid person?
Oh, look at the worth of every person on earth as a child of God!