“Get up, take your mat and walk.” Mark 2:9b (NIV)
Get ready, friend. Jesus is “in the house” (Mark 2:1, ASV), and it’s standing room only. In fact, that day in Capernaum, “they gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door” (Mark 2:2a, NIV). People surely stepped on one another’s sandaled feet and craned their heads to get a better look.
Whatever they were seeking, the Lord gave them what they needed: “and he preached the word to them” (Mark 2:2b, NIV). Whether we’re fully aware of it or not, that’s what our souls hunger for most: God’s Word. We may pray for material things or mended relationships or financial blessings or easier lives, but what our hearts truly want is to hear His truth and experience His presence.
Jesus encountered a man that day who wasn’t content with simply hearing Him speak. This man wanted to be changed, forgiven, healed. He wanted Jesus, but he needed help to reach Him. Then, “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them” (Mark 2:3, NIV). What a perfect picture of how we’re to bear one another’s burdens!
Sadly, no one made room for a paralyzed man on a mat. No one gave up their place. So, his resourceful buddies “made an opening in the roof above Jesus” (Mark 2:4b, NIV) and lowered the paralyzed man into the house.
The crowd must have looked up in astonishment as a man on a mat entered the room through a door that didn’t exist before. A helpless man who didn’t have the ability to create that opening or lower himself down.
This is how God rescues us, beloved. It is not of our own doing. The Holy Spirit is our Helper, our Comforter, our stretcher-bearer, delivering us to the only One who can save us.
When He looked up, “Jesus saw their faith” (Mark 2:5a, NIV). Yes, their faith, not just the faith of the paralytic man. Faith might be invisible, but the evidence of it was clear in their brave, bold, collective move.
Then Jesus spoke directly to the man lying before him. “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5b, NIV).
Oh, my. We weren’t told the man was a sinner. We thought he was merely stricken with a malady and in need of a physician.
But Jesus was far more concerned with the state of the man’s soul than the state of his body. Like many of us, this man on the mat was paralyzed with fear, with shame, with guilt. Jesus had to address that first, just as He does with us.
At once, the deed was done. Jesus told him “the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed, and you are made upright and in right standing with God” (Mark 2:5b, AMPC). Glory!
But not everyone in the crowd was pleased. The teachers of the law watched all this unfold and thought to themselves, “‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Mark 2:7).
How this truth must have irked them! Because if no one can forgive sins except God, then Jesus must be …
Right. God. In the flesh.
With the crowd hanging on His every Word, Jesus told the teachers of the law, “But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10a). To further prove His power, Jesus said to the paralyzed man “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home” (Mark 2:11, NIV).
The man arrived unable to do any of those things. He couldn’t stand, he couldn’t hold his mat, and he definitely couldn’t head for home on his own. Now, because of Jesus, he “walked out in full view of them all” (Mark 2:12a, NIV).
No wonder people praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:12b, NIV). Now, you and I have seen it as well, through the eyes of a broken man made whole.
Lord, You really do know what we need most: Your truth, Your forgiveness and the freedom You offer us through Your Son. Give us the humility to accept help and seek You, whatever it takes. Only You can forgive. Only You can heal. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Acts 13:38, “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (NIV)
John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (NIV)
In Liz Curtis Higgs’ Parable Treasury for children, young Maggie discovers the power of forgiveness. With simplicity and creative storytelling, this is sure to be a family favorite!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When I express my deepest needs in prayer, it’s comforting to realize God already knows what they are. What need has He already met for you today? And how might His Word address your unmet needs?