I have been studying Mark 2:1-12. It’s a passage where Jesus clearly showed He is God. So, it is a turning point in the narrative because of His transparency about His divinity; and now He has enemies – the religious rulers and authorities. Up until this point, He was well received. He’s been a popular guy. However, now He is revealing more about Himself and it’s causing trouble. He says He can forgive sins. That is something only God can do. He has crossed a “religious” line.
A group of men, with their paralyzed friend, try to see Jesus. There is a huge crowd, and they can’t get into the house where Jesus is teaching. No matter. They climb up onto the roof, part the materials that make up the roof, and lower their friend down to where Jesus is speaking. Their friend’s immediate need is healing from paralysis. They have faith in Jesus to heal their friend. They put actions to their faith!
Jesus marvel’s at the four friends’ faith, and says their friend’s sins are forgiven. Odd. He wanted freedom from paralysis, and Jesus is forgiving his sins? Interesting. Jesus is addressing this man’s deeper need – healing His soul. That’s most important for the friend. His paralysis and brokenness is far, far deeper than his physical body. Maybe the friend has hatred, despair, unforgiveness, jealousy, dark thoughts of murder in his heart. You can imagine how he may have been treated in his broken state. Jesus, like an amazing, loving surgeon, goes to the root problem this man has and takes it from him. Your sins are forgiven.
As Jesus forgives this man of his sins, He is also saying, these sins are against ME. Jesus is continuing to reveal He is God. When we sin, Jesus is saying, we are turning our hearts away from Jesus’ way of living, so we are truly sinning against Him. If I have jealousy in my heart, and want another’s story for mine, I am saying to God that the story He has given me is not good enough for me. I think I know better than God, and right there, my heart has turned away from His heart and His will for my story.
As I think through this passage, I think of friends who have carried me to Jesus. Their kindness and love is amazing. I think of Marsha, who told me Jesus loved me, way back in college. I think of Judy, who loved me even when my story got horribly messy and hard. I think of Marge, who encouraged me in my art and showed me how to embrace the story God has given me. I think of Vickie, who mentored me in forgiveness and prayer, and walked with me through chemo, always bringing me to the Father. And so did my loving, life-long friend Alice, Lori, Suzie, Jackie, Karen, Katie, Amy, Virginia, Trisha, Charise, Eileen, Pat, Dianne, Paula, Judy, Lani, Nancy, Lupe, Jean and so, so, so many others. What examples they are to me! Which makes me ask, “Who can I bring to Jesus today?” I want to be like those faith-filled friends of the paralyzed man. Who needs Jesus in your life today? Let’s bring them to Jesus in prayer and in our conversations.
I add a cross, of sorts, to this collage, because I know Jesus is holding this man’s story together – and mine as well. Jesus knows our entire stories, our deep soul mess as well as our more obvious paralysis and brokenness. You can just imagine this friend joyfully sharing, “My friends brought me to Jesus, and I am brand new inside and out!”
Because my Creator God, Jesus, knows me so well, and still loves me, I have hope for my story, even into eternity. I’m certain of His forgiveness deep in my soul, and looking to Him for healing of my cancer, just like He healed the friend of his paralysis. My story is in His hands, and I pray I make much of Jesus and His wonderful deeds in the days He has ordained for me.