Thursday 21 February 2013

Bible Book:

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" (v. 5)

Mark 2:1-12 Thursday 21 February 2013


Jesus made the small lakeside town of Capernaum his base for awhile, hence the reference to him being at home (verse 1). In anarea, where medical resources were minimal, the presence of ahealer would be important news. Also there'd be excitement that anextra-ordinary character was in town, whom some were calling aprophet and others were even naming as the promised Messiah. Nowonder it was difficult to get near.

House roofs in the area were generally flat and could be reachedby outside steps. They served as outdoor rooms, where people couldeat, sit chatting or even sleep on hot nights. Such roofs would beconstructed with a parapet to stop people falling off (Deuteronomy 22:8). These roofs were made ofbrushwood and reeds covered by a thick layer of clay, so breakingopen the roof would not be too difficult.

Even the best-educated had little understanding of humanphysiology or the nature of disease. Illness was often seen as apunishment for sin (cf the disciples asking Jesus, "Who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John9:2)). By declaring the man forgiven, Jesus was removing thecause of the paralysis. Jesus spoke as if the actual healing was ademonstration that forgiveness was in place. In Judaism, only oneperson had the authority to forgive sins - God himself. So Jesuswas claiming to wield the power of God in respect of sins. Thismessianic claim caused consternation and talk of blasphemy amongthe scribes (verses 6-7).

There is a marked contrast between the faith of the paralyticand his friends and the legalistic thinking of the scribes. On theone hand we have those prepared to breach convention and incurpersonal cost - the owner will want the roof repaired - in order tobring their friend into contact with the power of God that theyrecognise in Jesus. On the other side we have those who can't seepast their obsession with rules, rituals and right beliefs and somiss the significance of what is happening right in front of theireyes.

To Ponder

  • How far are you prepared to go beyond convention and traditionto bring people into contact with the power of God in Jesus?
  • Have there been occasions when you have felt that over-concernwith rules and tradition was blocking the work of God? What did youdo about it?
  • What is the cost of faith for you?
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