The Gospel of Mark tells us about a time when Jesus went home. When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. Mark 2:1. He was the type of guy who always drew a crowd, and this time was no different – there were so many gathered together that there wasn’t even room by the door (2:2).

A paralytic with four good friends was desperate to see Jesus. Removing the roof of Jesus’ home to see Him is a bold faith – one that does whatever it takes to be in the presence of Jesus.  Mark 2:3 says they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. I have a hard time imagining the scene. Did they lower the pallet on top of the crowd?  When they were digging in the roof, did the crowd wonder why all of the debris was falling on them?  I imagine if someone dug a hole in my roof, I would be more or less annoyed. Jesus didn’t seem bothered, as He had an eternal perspective on the situation. “Seeing their faith”, Jesus acted in a way that was unexpected.  He forgave the man’s sins.

To be in a position to forgive someone, you have to be the one who is wronged.  If someone steals from my neighbor, I cannot forgive them – I am not the wronged party.  My neighbor must be the one who forgives. A person can only forgive when they let go of an offense or wrong that was done to them personally. If Jesus were merely man, it would have been very odd for Him to forgive the man’s sins. That would only be possible if whatever sin the man had was an offense against Jesus. Since all sins are an offense against God, and Jesus forgave the man all of his sins, there was an implication in what Jesus said that was not lost on the scribes who were present.  Why does this man speak that way?  He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone? (2:7)

Jesus then demonstrated His divinity. He showed His authority by then telling the man to pick up his pallet and to go home (2:11) …and the man did. Immediately.  In the sight of everyone. (2:12).

I see several lessons here. My sin – whatever it is – is an offense against Jesus. It is an offense against a holy God.  Sometimes I feel like my attitudes aren’t hurting anyone – or that my tongue offends just the person the sharp remark was directed at. The reality is that any sin offends God.

The next thing I see is that sometimes our situation will drive us to Him, but what we really need is the barrier of our relationship with Him to be taken care of. The paralytic and his friends were clearly wanting Jesus’ physical healing. Jesus wanted to heal the heart first. He knows hearts (Mark 2:8) and wants to address our eternal, real need first – our relationship with God. Jesus paid the price for the paralytic and for me once and for all at the cross. He demonstrated His love for us by giving His own life to draw us to Himself. God may or may not grant my request that represent my perceived need.  God grants what He knows I need.

Finally, bold faith daringly takes requests to God. Jesus removed the barriers to the throne room of grace through the cross, and we are invited to draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16) We don’t have to dig up the roof to have an open conversation with heaven. We have direct access!  
May we boldly approach His throne often this week!

by Mike Hogue, Senior Pastor

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