We've Never Seen Anything Like This!
One of my favorite times in Jesus' ministry is found in Mark 2:1-12. Here is how the story goes: After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, "Son, I forgive your sins." Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, "He can't talk that way! That's blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins." Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, "Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, 'I forgive your sins,' or say, 'Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking?' Well, just so it's clear that I'm the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both..." (he looked now at the paraplegic), "Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home." And the man did it– got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous– and then praised God, saying, "We've never seen anything like this!" (MSG)
Isn't that a great story! These guys made a bold move for their friend. They tear apart some poor guy's roof in hopes that Jesus could physically heal their pal. They lower him into a crowd of people. Can you imagine, as everyone else (including Jesus) was looking up to see what the commotion was about, the look on these four men's faces? How about when he's finally on the floor and Jesus speaks to him? How about what he says, "Your sins are forgiven" What!! That's not what this is about, sin. It's about being able to walk, not about the wrong things he's done. The Pharisees can't believe their ears, either. This is what they've been waiting for, Jesus to say the wrong thing. I mean, who can forgive sins but God alone? They have him for sure this time.
Jesus knew their hearts. (He knows yours and mine as well.) He knows that our salvation is more important then any physical issues we may have. He is able to forgive our sins because He has already paid our debt. His death on the cross cancels out our sin if we would only ask. He longs to be in a meaningful relationship with us. You probably already know that if you're reading this. But have you brought friends to Jesus? What would you do to help them to see the Saviour? How far would you go with them? How far would you carry them? Jesus challenges the teachers of the law: which is simpler, to forgive sins or to heal? Which are you looking for? Forgiveness or completeness? To be healed or to be right with God? Jesus wants to do both. Come to Him for forgiveness and see what he does with the rest of your life. See if you, like the man on the mat, don't leap and praise the name of God. See if those around you don't say the same as those who saw this miracle, "We've never seen anything like this!"
Pastor Mike Slothower, River of Life Friends Church,
Post Falls, Idaho