Mark 2: 1-12
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!”
I would like to wonder, for a few lines, what this weak man’s life was like before he was healed by the Master…
I imagine he stayed at home…
…secure in his “safe place”.
…comfortable and protected in his hideout.
Can you see his room: dark, quiet, in complete solitude?
I’m sure the neighborhood kids threw rocks at his window…the hermit, who peeked out from behind the curtains on occasion, just for a bit of sunlight to brighten his dimly lit residence. I am reminded of Boo Radley in the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
The rumors must have flown.
“What did he do?”
“What sin did he commit?”
“God has punished him for his failures…what a wretch!”
“Kept from fellowship, and kept from the courts of praise, I shudder to think of what mess he caused to put him in this predicament.”
And then there were four. Four men who believed in him. Four men who carried him to Jesus.
Oh yea–Jesus. Forgot about Him, didn’t ya? The Healer. The Grace-giver. The One who gives continual second chances and never fails to heal the hearts of those He so very much adores. He’s the Peace-speaker and the Joy-giver. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are Greater and Higher; His love is deeper and wider; His truth is absolute; His Grace is complete (with no strings attached). There is no one like Jesus.
So, back to the weak one. The sick man. Let’s call him Matt. (Maybe that’s a little offensive? I have a sick sense of humor.)
This man who’s been in hiding for years is now lowered down from the roof, in full view of the public and into the middle of all of these religious leaders…talk about a shock to the system! How embarrassing! He must have been humiliated! But immediately, without judgement and without a second thought or glance, Jesus calms his fears and insecurities with four gentle yet powerful words, “Your sins are forgiven”.
Jesus gets the inner issues out of the way first, so that He can move on to the physical ailments. He heals the heart before he strengthens the legs. His desire for everyone is to lift our burdens before He confronts our external issues.
He forgives the man’s sins (and notice, the man didn’t even ask…but that’s another topic for another day), and then tells the man (in front of all those in attendance), “Take your mat and go home.”
And Jesus is saying the same thing throughout eternity. Can you hear his healing voice echoing through the Ages? TAKE YOUR MAT! GO HOME! Don’t leave your mess and your weakness! Take it with you! Wear it as a badge of honor! Take your testimony and shout it through the streets!
I AM REDEEMED! I HAVE BEEN HEALED! I AM BRAND-NEW AND I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME! LOOK AT MY LEGS! LISTEN TO MY HEART! JESUS HAS FOREVER CHANGED ME!
Can you see him, rolling up his pants legs, taking his sandals in his hand, and running through the streets?! Can you see him doing a victory dance on his front door and jumping on the bed?!
HEALED, FORGIVEN, CHANGED FOREVER.
When Jesus heals you, don’t leave your mat behind. Take your testimony and tell it to the amazement of everyone you meet. They will exclaim to you and to God, “We have NEVER seen anything like this!”