Chapter two of the book of Mark reveals what Jesus wants to give us. And it is something greater than being healed from a crippling injury.
Most of us are familiar with the story. Jesus is in a home preaching the Word to anyone and everyone who would listen. Many people arrive to hear him. So many people, in fact, that the home becomes full — there is no more room to let a single person in. Apparently, there’s a paralytic who lives nearby who has good friends. Such good friends that they are willing to carry him on a bed to get to Jesus. There’s no room through the door, though, so they did what anyone with any sanctified common sense would do: they went through the roof.
They disrupt the crowd, and get to Jesus. Everyone is watching. What is Jesus going to do?
Jesus looks at the paralytic, and says, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
Sins forgiven? Jesus, don’t you see that this man is paralyzed? He can’t walk. He’s crippled. Don’t you care about his physical condition? Can’t you tell he’s in pain?
Oh, how Jesus always exceeds our expectations.
Jesus is a good physician. He knows what we want, but he also knows what we need. Jesus is going there, but he’s not there yet. That is, he is going to fix the physical condition, but first he works on the spiritual condition, because not having one’s sins forgiven is worst than being paralyzed.
Here’s my point: the euphoria from circumstantial happiness never lasts. If Jesus would have just healed this guy of being paralyzed and never dealt with his spiritual condition, he may have ended up in a worse condition. After the physical healing, the paralytic probably would have been on cloud nine … for maybe a year or two … and then eventually, the euphoria would fade. His discontentment would worsen. And the only way to have your discontentment removed is to have your sins forgiven.
We should be thankful for God’s gifts: A job promotion, a spouse, a healing, a new car. Whatever. After all, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given to him from heaven” (John 3:27). But we shouldn’t elevate the gifts above the Giver. Our deep-rooted joy should be in God, not in what God can give.
The story continues.
” … He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose immediately, picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed, and glorified God … (Mark 2:11).”
In the end, the paralytic gets what he wants, but more importantly, he gets what he needs — and it’s something that he doesn’t deserve, nor is it something that he would ever expect.
Jesus is a good physician who knows what his patients need. His perfect life, death, and resurrection has paved the way to give us what we need — namely, our sins forgiven. And it is found in Christ, and through no other avenue.
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