Friday, 15 January 2021
Title: We have never seen anything like this
By Ps Cheng Cheung
Mark 2:5 ”When Jesus saw . . .faith”
Mark 2: 1-12
This is the story of the paralytic man whose friends lowered him through the roof as Jesus spoke in a crowded house, in the hope that Jesus would heal him.
Picture this poor man lying helplessly in front of Jesus. In those days, unlike today, society did not provide amenities for the paralysed. A paralytic was dependent on his friends to carry him anywhere he needed to go. He couldn’t dress himself or take care of his bodily functions. Worst of all, he could not earn a living; he could only beg. Physical healing was his only hope to lead a normal life. He and his friends had heard of Jesus’ power to heal. Desperation and faith drove them to use desperate means when they saw the crowd at the house where Jesus was teaching.
Imagine the dialogue at that crucial moment:
Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” It must have startled the guys on the roof. One of them had his head down through the opening so he could hear. The other guys asked him, “What did Jesus say?”
He relayed, “He said that his sins are forgiven.”
“ His sins are forgiven? He did not heal him? You mean we went to all the trouble of digging this hole in the roof and letting him down just so he could get his sins forgiven? We want him healed!”
If you were one of the four friends is that what you would have said? It would seem that for a person in such a position, the need for physical healing far surpasses anything else. But first Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” To heal the man’s body would have made his life more comfortable. But without healing his soul, he would have died and faced God’s righteous judgment. His main need was forgiveness of sins, not physical healing.
Today, what other proposals for paralytics do you think might have been suggested?
This man needs financial assistance. After all, he needs it for basics like food and lodging.
This man needs educational help. Then, perhaps, after some training he would be able to fend for himself.
This man needs emotional healing. This will enable him to see that he is a worthwhile human being, and be weaned from the idea that he is totally dependent on others. Then, his relationships with his family would certainly improve, right?
Jesus didn’t say any of the above because He knew forgiveness of one’s sin is the primary and most pressing need of every person. That is why Jesus came, to offer forgiveness of sin, and thereby restoration of our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Living God. More importantly, the logical point that follows is this: Forgiveness of sin is such a pressing need that we should do all we can to bring our friends and loved ones to Jesus.
I want to share a true story which happened many years ago. John and Terry (not their real names) were good friends. They were golf buddies and enjoyed the outdoors and other sports together. John was a keen Christian. Terry wasn’t, but was open to the gospel. However, because of objections from his family, he preferred not to stir things at home. John knew he could arouse his good friend’s interest if only he could get him to go to church.
John decided to do something e͟x͟t͟r͟a͟o͟r͟d͟i͟n͟a͟r͟y͟. Early one Sunday morning, John turned up very early at Terry’s house, at about 7:00 am. He said to him, “I am taking you to my church this morning. Since you said you would like to come one day, I will just read the papers here, while you take your time with your breakfast, alright? You do not have to hurry. When you are done, and ready to leave, we will leave. We have four services at my church, so we can catch any of the four.”
So off they went. And guess what? Terry was struck by the sermon. It spoke to him. He had so many questions at the end of the service about how to become a Christian that John said, “Let’s go ask the pastor right now.” They did. Afterwards, Terry gave his heart to Jesus that very morning! How blessed that he had such a caring, persistent friend in John.
Can you see that the four friends in this passage needed that same p͟e͟r͟s͟i͟s͟t͟e͟n͟c͟e͟, especially when they came to the house where Jesus was teaching and saw that he was not accessible because of the number of people crammed into the house? They could easily have been put off by that obstacle, but instead were determined to help their friend receive healing. If they saw it was of utmost importance for his physical healing, how much more should we, like John, see the importance and urgency of the need for spiritual healing for our unsaved loved ones and friends.
Thank you Lord, for these stories of loyal and close friends. Help me be totally convicted of this truth from these stories that forgiveness of sin is man’s greatest need. Help me be a loyal and close friend too, to the unsaved in my circle of friends.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.