4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. – Mar 2:4 KJV
This is the story of the paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus by four men, perhaps family or friends who had compassion on this man’s suffering. It is the story of 5 men who displayed great faith and went beyond the norm to acquire a blessing they believed existed. One man in submission, allowing himself to be on display to a throng of people and four others with tremendous determination to see their ‘patient’ heeled.
Arriving at the location where Jesus was preaching HIS Word, they concluded that the only way to get their friend within arms length of Jesus—who obviously was preaching from within the house—was to gain access to Him by the roof.
Can you imagine being there within the home with people shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, sitting, standing or whatever they could do to be as comfortable as possible to listen to Jesus’ message. And amidst the bustling and shifting bodies and cough’s and clearings of the guests a noise and scuffling is heard above their heads.
I can see Jesus continue to preach as if nothing is happening as those He is speaking to periodically glance upward toward the comotion above his head. Soon, the skylight breaks through as the roof tiles are removed, exposing the supporting roof frame below. And then, just as the men are in secure positions to begin to lower their friend down, Jesus steps aside allowing a few men within the room to step below the lowered man and receive him gently but securely within Jesus’ reach.
All the while, Jesus is measuring these men’s faith, taking an appraisal of their sincerity, their determination, their attitudes to disregard the protocols of the world in pursuit of something sublime, even heavenly. Never let a good roof get in the way of an impenetrable shelter. Or in the vein of “penny wise and pound foolish,” don’t be temporally wise and eternally foolish.
And then came the scribes who questioned Jesus’ authority to forgive sins. So ironically, Jesus gives them an answer by demonstrating in the temporal sense or according to the flesh as it were by backing up His divine authority with a complete restoration of this mans physical being and heeling of his flesh. “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way…” (Mark 2:10-11 KJV)
So what do you say to One who has the power to make the blind see, the deaf hear, and the lame to walk. You say what these people said in praise of God exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” (Mark 2:12 NLT)
Looking at this event closer, we see Jesus first forgiving this man’s sin before He heels his paralysis. This paralysis speaks to the consequences of sin, especially in this man’s situation. We can conjecture that his sin may have been grievous as evidenced by his grievous infirmity of paralysis. Not that in the modern sense a similar infirmity is reflective of someone moral state, but just that in this particular situation Jesus does first address this man’s moral state.
But it should be a great encouragement to us regardless of what moral state we ourselves might currently be in. If we feel that our own poor choices and ignorant attitude toward God have left us in such a mess as to be a spiritual paralytic, analogous to this mans physical state, we can see in this story that Jesus will all the more forgive us if we come to Him with this same type of faith.
Let me consider that I am like this man. That though I am so spiritually broken and feeble that I must have four men lower me through the roof of a stranger’s home to have access to the Heeler of Souls. But in doing so, realize it is this exercise in extreme faith and bold action that Jesus repeatedly acknowledges throughout Scripture that demonstrates His profound willingness to forgive. If we are courageous and believe that He will forgive us, regardless of what we’ve done, He will all the more pour out His grace upon us.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hbr 4:16 KJV
Subject and Supporting Scriptures
1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. – Mar 2:1-12 KJV
by Keith Kampschaefer