Jesus Knows What We Need
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5)
The world of infirmities was given access to mankind with the fall–when Satan welcomed Adam and Eve into his sinful domain. Satan–being the culprit–taking captive the one made in God’s own image. Death came into the world, as did every sickness, every dysfunction, every distorted perspective, every broken relationship, and every physically and emotionally crippling frailty. All became a reality for mankind when sin made its mark on the scene. From our original parents on, every human has been born captive, held bound by a sinful nature. Praise Jesus, who came to set the captive free! Our Lord disarmed the powers and authorities of this dark world. He made a public spectacle of them–triumphing over them by the cross–proclaiming freedom for the captive.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1)
In our verses for today, the crowds had gathered, so much so that the door was blocked by bodies. Isn’t it interesting that Mark tells us that Jesus did not begin by healing, but by preaching the Word. Surely there were other infirmed present, those seeking the comfort of Jesus’ healing touch, but He begins by bringing them the Word. Earlier in Mark Jesus had said that He came to preach–ever teaching the truth:
“Let us go … so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
Prior to the Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew)–surrounded by every kind of human ailment and need–our Lord chose to do the same thing. He took time to teach his disciples.
News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. (Matthew 4:24-5:2)
We must sit at Jesus’ feet–soaking in His Words–before we are ready to do His work.
As we continue to reflect on the verses today, we see that in the midst of His teaching–right above His head–a mat of suffering slowly begins to descend through the roof. A paralyzed man was lowered by his four compassionate friends of faith for Jesus to look upon and heal. They knew Jesus was mighty to save–mighty to save from sin, mighty to save from despair, mighty to save from sorrow, mighty to save from disappointment, mighty to save from regret, mighty to save from self-castigation, and mighty to save from the blinding tears against fateful circumstances. Jesus is mighty to save! He alone is able to give us peace and the righteousness no matter what our circumstances.
-St. Francis de Sales
Jesus bypasses the obvious dilemma and goes right to the core of the matter by first healing the condition of this man’s soul. Surely the man was wondering why Jesus missed his immediate problem–it was quite obvious he lacked the ability to walk. Yet Jesus proceeds by going to the man’s most important need. More than likely, unbeknownst even to the paralytic, his need for soul cleansing was greater than his need for legs leaping. Jesus calls the man “Son” and forgives his sins.
Take It to Heart
Jesus constantly spoke the truth in love. He continues to speak to us today through His Word. When we are first filled by and with the Master, we will be equipped to accomplish eternal and profitable things!