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!” Mark 2:1-12
Can you imagine the reality of this passage? This man, crippled in life and soul, brought to full healing. Full healing. Jesus, before his sacrifice, forgave his sins. And, to prove his authority, healed his physical disability, too! What an amazing new start for this unnamed paralytic man.
This reminds me of a story of new beginnings after a rough patch of life from the Old Testament. Job seemed to have it all. A loving family, wealth and prestige, and a dedication to God such that he’s held up as a shining example by God to the Evil One. During the conversation, Job is handed over for testing. His experience reminds me of the phrase ‘being pulled through a knothole.’ What a descriptive statement about having a seriously bad time in life, and it fits so well with Job.
The friends that surrounded Job didn’t help much with his suffering. Job wanted someone to listen to him, not judge him. Even his wife gave the ultimatum ‘curse God and die’ (Job 2:9). I’d collapse into a mass of gelatinous humanity if my wife ever told me that. Job wanted to be heard, for someone to affirm his feeling of tragedy and suffering. Instead he had ‘friends’ in Eliphaz, Bildaz, Zophar, and Elihu judging his suffering as being a result of his disobedience.
I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say many reading this have had this same life experience. Deep in your suffering and wanting someone to just listen, you received judgment instead. But, like the paralytic man (which is how it feels when you’re being pulled through the knothole), with his four friends (oddly, the same number of ‘friends’ Job had) you find yourself lying at the feet of Jesus. Perhaps paralyzed with the situation, he casts his eyes on you, saying your sins have been forgiven and rise.
If this is where you are, and, like Job, those surrounding you aren’t helpful, Jesus is watching, listening, and hearing you! He’s already forgiven you (Ephesians 1:13-14,1 Corinthians 6:19, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Hebrews 10:12-14). We’re not sinless, but the sins for all are forgiven forever. And there’s powerful healing in the name of Jesus. Perhaps it’s time to grab Jesus’ feet, call out, surrender, and in your surrendering, fully realize his forgiveness and capture the heart- and soul-healing available only through Jesus.
By Rich Obrecht