Today we continue our Journey through Mark’s narrative of the Life of Jesus of Nazareth. The second chapter of Mark contains the following events:
- Jesus heals a paralyzed man – Mark 2:1-12.
- Jesus calls a tax collector to be a follower – Mark 2:13-17.
- Religious leaders ask about Jesus’ followers and what they are not fasting – Mark 2:18-22.
- Jesus teaches that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath – Mark 2:23-28.
Going back into the text, let us consider the first story (Mar 2:1-12 – ESV).
“And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed 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 say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Make a close inspection of yourself and the characters in this story. The paralyzed man is HELPLESS, he cannot get what he needs on his own. His four friends are HELPERS, they know what their friend needs and will go to great lengths to help him find healing. The scribes are HINDERERS actively keeping the man from getting help. The crowds are HINDERERS, potentially keeping the helpless from Jesus. Do you find yourself in as one of these characters?
Are you the HELPLESS? You do not know where to turn. Satan has you by the throat and you feel as if you are down for the count. Your addictions, your sin, your pride, your _______ has you spiritually paralyzed and there is nothing you can do about it. Paul describes all of man that way when we are outside of Christ (Rom 3:10-23).
Are you the HELPERS? You know Jesus, you have the righteousness of God applied to your life through the sacrifice of Christ (2Cor 5:21). Now because of your understanding of Christ’s love and power to forgive, you are bringing your sin paralyzed friends to Jesus (2Cor 5:14).
Are you an ACTIVE HINDERER like the scribes? Your preconceived ideas about religion, God, or people keep those needing Jesus away from His saving power? Are your religious doctrines and traditions binding peoples hands and making the Kingdom of God a burden and not a joy?
Are you a PASSIVE HINDERER like the crowds? You are focused on Jesus, but focused on Him for your needs and desires only. You know Jesus is the answer but you selfishly seek Him trying to keep Him for yourself and neglect the needs of others? You take the best seats at worship and the best parking places too. You worship, but you do not bring others to Christ. You do not mean to hinder, but you do.
Look at these characters again. You will find that they all have one thing in common. They all need the HEALER! They all need the forgiveness of sin that only the blood of Christ can provide.
Come, get to know the Healer as we journey through Mark.
What lessons do you see?