Lenten Reflection - Mark 2:1-12 by Jack Ely
Event Time: Feb 18 at 12:00 am
“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12
Picture Jesus, at home, mobbed by so many people that no one can get in or out. So four faithful men carrying a paralyzed friend somehow get on the roof and dig their way through. It must have felt like an earthquake with dirt and branches falling everywhere. We would all be calling the police and the insurance company, but Jesus calmly sees the situation, notes the faith of the men and says “Son, your sins are forgiven.” He doesn’t lay on hands as one might expect of a healing; he simply forgives.
The scribes present get upset at this blasphemy as only God is able to forgive in their world and they clearly have not yet accepted Jesus as Son of Man. Jesus rebukes their thinking noting the he has authority on earth to forgive sins. Only then does he tell the man to get up, take his mat and go home, which, to the amazement of everyone, he does.
To me the important lesson here is the intimate connection between forgiveness and healing. Jesus asserts his authority on earth to forgive. In giving us the Lord’s Prayer, he also asserts the opportunity for all of us to forgive - “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In a sense, in contradiction to the scribes, he frees forgiveness to be available for everyone at all times.
In my experience the most incredible part of the freedom to forgive is that it heals 2 not 1. I know I often need to remind myself of that.