SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:1-12
This morning we are continuing our sermon series from the Gospel of Mark titled The Crown & The Cross.
Jesus is presented as a man of decisive action with a clear message and mission, and the reader is called to actively response to the message. Mark’s writing style, with lots of action words like “immediately,” communicates a real sense of urgency. How will you respond to Jesus as we hear His life chronicled and discover who He is?
Mark divides Jesus’ life into two parts: his identity as Messiah and King over all things in chapters 1-8a (the crown) and then we see His purpose in suffering and dying on the cross in chapters 8b-16.
In many cultures, forgiveness is seen as a sign of weakness. Think about the decades long feuds in the middle east, Northern Ireland, and even here in our gang-torn cities. People would rather retaliate and seek revenge than to forgive. Jesus’ unexpected declaration of forgiveness came as a shock to a home and community. It is still a shock to our world. While forgiveness can be so powerful, it can also be extremely costly. Many settle for something much less. But Jesus was prepared to pay the full price and offers the best and most complete forgiveness we can hope for.
After some time of preaching and healing Jesus returned to Capernaum. Most likely Simon (Peter’s home in Capernaum). This probably became their home base.
Word got out that Jesus was back in town. People mobbed the house hoping for a miracle or maybe to hear his teaching that amazed and astonished people. It was preaching with authority as he saw in the previous chapter. No more room for anyone else to come in. Not even at the door. There were probably people looking and listening through windows and the doorways.
Jesus began preaching the word to them. Again from the previous chapter we learn that his message was repent because God’’s Kingdom is at hand. He shared the Gospel the Good News of God’s love and redemption.
Four men brought paralytic friend to be healed by Jesus. He was paralyzed and unable to walk. In that culture that meant he could not work or provide food for himself or his family. He had to rely on others for almost everything.
They had faith believing that Jesus could help their helpless friend, but there was an obstacle , but they couldn’t get anywhere near Jesus. They had a problem!
They climbed up on the roof and started digging through the mud and straw until they made an opening in ceiling. They were not going to let anything stop them from getting their friend to Jesus. He was his only hope!
Can you imagine inside the house – The people hear foot steps on the roof. No it’s not Santa! Then bits of straw and mud are randomly falling from the ceiling while Jesus is talking. Then light shines through with a sunbeam highlighted by dust. Can you picture that?
And then four faces appear in a huge opening in the roof looking down at the crowd inside.
I’ve been interrupted while preaching before by cell phones or people with medical needs – but I can usually keep going. Jesus was continuing to share the Gospel and then slowly a man on his bed is lowered from the ceiling right down to the floor in front of Jesus.
The four friends had faith. They believed Jesus could help their friend. Their faith was persistent, it was creative, and it was sacrificial. They just didn’t give up.
The paralyzed man also had faith. He believe what he heard about Jesus and he trusted his friends to get him there. Even carrying him up to the rooftop and lowering him through the ceiling.
Jesus’ Response (v. 5)
Jesus saw their faith and said Son, your sins are forgiven. Wait what about his paralysis? He can’t walk and Jesus says “you’re forgiven?”
Jesus went deeper than the obvious physical problem. He provided forgiveness and a healed relationship with God. That’s what the man needed even more than healing his body.
We all need that spiritual healing. Every one of us. Sin is a spiritual sickness with only one cure – forgiveness. Jesus doesn’t mention any of the paralytic man’s specific sins and He doesn’t say that his sins caused his illness. But Jesus offered the man forgiveness.
Jesus said “Son, your sins are forgiven.
These opening scenes in Mark reveal that Jesus has been sent to bring healing to a broken world. Mark singles out these miracles to signify what the advent of the dominion of God promises for this fallen world, as well as what the power of the one who acts in God’s name on behalf of humanity entails.
It is not the case that Jesus saw the paralyzed man, for example, as particularly sinful, nor did he buy into the pharisee’s idea that a person’s suffering comes in direct proportion to his or her sin.
God’s will and plan for His creation is man’s wholeness, or completeness in every aspect of his being: physical and spiritual. Jesus came showing that sickness and even death were part of the curse of sin and they belongs to the world system of Satan’s domain. Now, the Messiah is here, the king of God’s Kingdom, and he is bringing healing and life. He will overthrow Satan’s power over the earth and bring light to the world as His Kingdom is established.
The Objection (vv. 6-7)
Jesus “heard” the inner thoughts of the scribes and IMMEDIATELY asked “Why do you question this? What is easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or rise up and walk?’
Scribes heard this and wondered in their hearts how can he say this? He is blaspheming. (only God can forgive).
Here is the Scribes’ Flawed Logic
Major Premise: Only God can forgive sins
Minor Premise: This man claims to forgive sins
Conclusion: This man is a liar and blasphemer.
But Jesus provided a different amazing conclusion. One the scribes hadn’t even considered. He is the Messiah. The Son of Man. The Son of God who has authority here on earth to forgive sins and to heal sickness and disease. The OT prophecies were filled with descriptions of the Messiah’s ability to heal the sick, make the lame walk, the blind see – but the scribes either didn’t make that connection – or refused to believe that Jesus could be the Messiah.
The Explanation (vv. 8-11)
What’s easier to say? Be forgive? or Rise up and walk? You can’t see forgiveness you can’t see his heart, but you can see if the man is actually healed or not.
So I will also heal him physically so that you know that I have authority on earth to forgive sins.
Jesus said, “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
Jesus calls himself the Son of Man fourteen times in Mark’s gospel. It is often in connection with his authority while here on earth. The ability to heal and forgive for example. But it is also used when Jesus was talking about his suffering, death, resurrection and glorious return. It appears to be emphasizing his humanity while also referencing his deity.
What if the scribes and religious leaders opened their hearts and thoughts to their own need of forgiveness that day? They would have seen Jesus as the Savior with authority to forgive and to make them whole. Instead, their critical spirits moved them even farther from the truth. They refused to see themselves as people needing to be saved. They would not humble themselves before God.
The Result (v. 12)
Jesus said to paralytic “rise up, pick up your bed and go home”
He rose and IMMEDIATELY picked up his bed and walked out. They were all amazed and glorified God “We have never seen anything like this!”
Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of Man is the rightful King of Kings. He wears the Crown. He has complete authority here on earth over the physical realm as he does in heaven over the spiritual realm. He proves this by healing, forgiving sin, and casting out demons.
Jesus clearly displayed that man’s greatest need is to be made right (righteous) before God. The only way to be right with God is by the forgiveness of sins. Jesus provided that on the cross. We need to repent, accept His forgiveness.
Many of us have a desire for physical healing, but we all have a desperate need for spiritual healing – to be forgiven and to be right with God. Jesus is the only way!
Acknowledge my own sin
Accept God’s forgiveness
Forgive Others as He has forgiven me