Tag Archives: paralysed man

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – SON…FORGIVEN

SON…FORGIVEN

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

What did Jesus see and value in the paralysed man? He may seem like a passive player in this scene but he most definitely was not. Until Jesus appeared on the public scene in Galilee, the man was helpless and hopeless. There was no cure for his condition and he was doomed to lie motionless on his mat day after day, relying on someone else to help him with every little detail of his life. He was a prisoner of his useless body with no hope of ever being released.

In that condition, his mind must have been hyperactive. How much time did he spend alone, just thinking? He was unable to do any religious exercises like offering sacrifices, attending the synagogue or celebrating the feasts, which might have brought some relief to his conscience. How many times did he lie wondering what caused his condition? What an internal hell he must have endured with no answers and no-one to give him hope.

What Jesus recognised in him drew out deep compassion for the man. He must have seen a repentant heart and a desperate longing for peace. Before He addressed his physical need, Jesus touched his heart. Forgiveness was a far greater need than healing and, with a word, Jesus swept his conscience clean. The man didn’t argue with His right or ability to forgive sins; he felt it, and his strengthened body responded.

Jesus values a broken and contrite heart. Until a person owns, not only his sin, but also his responsibility for his sin, he remains a prisoner to what is worse than sin itself, the pride that refuses to be accountable for the heart that rebels against God. Jesus values the ruthless honesty that confesses, “I did it and I alone am responsible for what I have done.” This includes the thoughts and motives that may never issue in any kind of action, but that remain in the heart to poison the inner life and cast a shadow over relationships with both God and men.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN

CHAPTER 2

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN

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

Jesus roused the anger of the Pharisees over something that doesn’t make sense until one recognises a profound truth hidden in Scripture from the beginning. From the Pharisees’ perspective, Jesus was a man and yet He was declaring this paralytic’s sins forgiven. To them He was blaspheming because He was taking on God’s role and usurping God’s position as the only one who had the authority to forgive sins.

If only they realised it, this was a set-up to show them that Jesus was indeed God! He latched onto their objection even though it was only in their thoughts. He was sharp enough to discern their reaction and set up a challenge. Two situations here – one inward and invisible, the other outward and visible. If He did the apparently more difficult thing – heal the paralysed man, would it not show them that He had the same authority to do the inward thing – forgive the man’s sins?

When it happened, the Pharisees had no answer but they were not convinced because they didn’t want to be convinced. Jesus was providing proof over and over again that He was God, if they would only weigh the evidence honestly. The common people were delighted but the Pharisees were frustrated.

This poses a serious question. In the Pharisees’ understanding, sacrifice was the ground of forgiveness, but Jesus was offering forgiveness without sacrifice. How could that be? What the Pharisees did not understand was that animal sacrifice was the visible evidence of a sacrifice that had already been made before time.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Revelation 13:8

When Jesus was crucified in time, He was revealing what had already been accomplished before time. The animal sacrifices of the old covenant were useless to deal with sin apart from the eternal sacrifice of the Lamb of God (Hebrews 9:12-14). Therefore, Jesus had every right to offer forgiveness because of the eternal redemption He had already accomplished and would make visible through the cross.

The Power Of The Cross – The Forgiveness Of Sins

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS

. . . In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1: 14)

This topic should have been at the beginning of our series, but I have left it to last because it sums up everything we experience through the power of the cross.

Do you know what it is like to be forgiven? Really forgiven? All the weight of your guilt removed; the torment of your conscience because of what you have done gone; the flashbacks and the regret of what you said or did, stilled.

Four men brought their paralysed friend to Jesus but they could not get him near Him. The house was jam-packed with people, and not one of them was willing to make way for him. They were too eager to hear Jesus to give him a place. What were they to do? There was only one answer. If they could not get him into the house through the door, they’d let him down through the roof! Then the people would have to make a place for him if they didn’t want him on their heads!

Fortunately they had access to the roof via the outside staircase. They lugged their heavy burden up the stairs, dug a hole in the roof big enough to get him through and slowly lowered him down on his sleeping mat until he lay at Jesus’ feet. What would Jesus do?

The man obviously needed healing. Would He heal him and send him on his way? Perhaps Jesus gazed at him for a moment, saw the pain in his eyes, perhaps the pain of memories he could not escape. Why was he in that condition in the first place? Did he believe that it was punishment for sin? Was there something he had done years before that still tormented him? Did he remember all the times he had disregarded the ceremonial law, failed to do his duty to God and his fellow Jews? And now he was powerless to make it right.

The first words that fell from Jesus’ lips were, surprisingly, not, ”Be healed,” but, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark. 2: 5b) Did you get that? First of all, Jesus called him “son”. What did that mean? Yes, he had sinned, but that did not cancel his relationship with His Father as His son. Not even sin could destroy that relationship. His guilt had long destroyed fellowship with God – in fact he was born in sin, but God’s forgiveness through Jesus would take care of that.

Jesus knew what he needed most of all, even before the healing of his body. He needed the healing of his heart and Jesus gave it to him unconditionally. Forgiven! Imagine that! No more regret. No more tormented dreams. Just peace. Peace. Peace!

The ever-present Pharisees were up in arms. They knew that there was no forgiveness without sacrifice. What right had Jesus to forgive sins? Did He think He was God? Where was the sacrifice? Little did they know that they would be partly responsible for making the sacrifice – not of an animal on the altar in the temple court but of the man they had come to hate because of His goodness, on the altar of a Roman cross.

You see, the death of Jesus was much more than just an event in history. It was the very heart of history – the pivot around which the whole of human history turned. Every animal that was sacrificed on the Jewish altar of God, in the tabernacle or in the temple, pointed backwards to what had already taken place in eternity, and forwards to what would happen at a moment in history.

Could Jesus forgive his sin? In spite of the religious leaders’ objections, yes, because He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God planned it before man sinned, and the effects of the one event in history covered all sin for all time. Those who sinned before the cross were invited to put their trust in a lamb because the Lamb of God would be manifested on earth to reveal what He had already done in heaven.

Forgiveness! Yes, Jesus had the authority and the power to forgive sins because He bore our sin in His body on the tree. He was the sacrificial lamb and the scapegoat who took away our sin, removed our guilt and set us free to follow Him.

This is the power of the cross!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

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My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

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Back In The Limelight

BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT

“Peter went off on a mission to visit all the churches. In the course of his travels, he arrived at Lydda and met with the believers there. He came across a man — his name was Aeneas — who had been in bed eight years, paralysed. Peter said, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed!’ And he did it — jumped right out of bed.. Everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him walking around and woke up to the fact that God was alive and active among them.” Acts 9:32-35 (The Message).

With Saul safely out of sight for a while, Peter was back on centre stage. There was no getting away from the fact that he had spent three years in the company of Jesus. He may not have understood all the implications of what this Man had said and done, but Peter had been absorbing it all, none-the-less.

Healing seems to have been his speciality. He had watched Jesus, healed under supervision with Jesus and gone on preaching and healing tours with the other disciples with Jesus’ authorisation. He was trained and equipped to do the works of the kingdom and he was not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Peter may not have been an educated man or a polished preacher but he did what he had been trained to do. Under the unction of the Holy Spirit, he put his Master’s glory on display by applying the rule of God to suffering people. He never let an opportunity go by to dispense God’s mercy to sick people and, by doing so, he could not escape the attention of the people around him.

Where Saul’s fiery preaching aroused opposition, in a less confrontational way so did Peter’s healing ministry. Jesus was alive in the transformation of people through the truth proclaimed and in the healing of the sick and disabled through the demonstration of the power of His name, and no one could dispute that.

The religious authorities had no answer for these phenomena and it put them in a very bad light. They were the ones who had discredited Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and put Him to death for blasphemy without a careful and honest evaluation of the evidence. As hard as they tried, they could not put out the fires of faith and loyalty to the risen Jesus. They had lost face and their grip on the people. It would not be long before their fury would break out again.

In the meantime the church was enjoying a lull in the storm. The apostles and the believers were making use of every opportunity to spread the Word. The movement was gathering momentum and churches were popping up everywhere. They were dependant on the propagation of this message by word of mouth. They had no convenient Bible to turn to for instruction.

Peter made it his business to move around from church to church to check on their progress and to teach them from his own knowledge and experience, and from his understanding of the Scriptures. Even at this early stage of the church’s history, there were those who slipped in to sow lies and discord among the believers. It has always been so and will always be so.

Like newborn infants, these little groups of believers needed to be nurtured and protected, and the church leaders had their time cut out taking care of them. This was the nature of the first century church — not large congregations meeting in ornate buildings and guided by theologically trained ministers, but little groups of people meeting in homes and doing life together.

Their leadership and lives were simple and unsophisticated. They worshipped and prayed together, shared their experiences and their resources, and encouraged one another as best they could according to their understanding of this new Way. They loved and protected one another in a hostile environment.

This way of life was so foreign to the average person that they were attracted to it and many joined the church in spite of the dangers. It was a place of safety and hope in a dangerous and uncertain world since living under Roman domination was no Sunday School picnic.