1) Whatever it Takes
Mark 2:2- 4 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
This is one of the stories that people like to tell and the truth of it is that many people love to hear these stories of what people do to bring their friends to Jesus. The sad reality is that many of us do not do what we need to do to introduce people to Jesus .These men were willing to get their friend to Jesus at any cost even if they had to repair a roof.
The upper rooms of houses were usually cooler and they were bigger and were guest would be entertained at night. Because people heard Jesus was back there was already a large crowd gathered and the men, who carried their friend, could not figure out how to get him to Jesus.Everyone agrees that this was Peters house that Jesus used as a base for His ministry. Can you imagine the scene when dust and debris started to fall down from these men breaking the roof apart?
These men knew the only hope for their friend was Jesus and they were not going to let anything get in their way. We need to have a whatever it takes attitude when it comes to introducing people to Christ.
2) Faith always includes action
When He saw their faith
We sometimes talk about faith as if it is some magical experience or some invisible thing that we cannot truly define. We demonstrate faith every day when we drive we have faith in other drivers. We have faith they will stop at red lights or that they will stay in their own lane. We have faith when we sit in a chair because we do not call the manufacturer and ask who was inspector 12 and if they are a reliable employee.
Some people make fun of Christians for living by faith but the reality is everyone does. You live by faith in not just everyday actions but also everyone has a belief of what happens after you die. That is by faith.
To say I have faith in something means that I rely on the thing I have faith in. The paralyzed mans friends knew Jesus had healed other paralyzed people but even though they knew that they demonstrated faith when they carried him to Jesus. They demonstrated faith when they did not just talk the talk but they walked the walk.
Some of the old testament stories included the Children walking around Jericho until the walls fell down and Noah building an Ark. You can imagine when God told them to do something their reaction was more like,”WE are supposed to do what?” You have faith when your actions show you have faith.
3) Sin is the problem
Take Heart my son your sins are forgiven.
This guy grew up in a culture that looked down on him because all physical disabilities were a direct result of him or family members sinning. (See John 9) Because of this belief this guy more than most had guilt over his sin.
Jesus says Take courage: Do not fear is Jesus response to the man because the man knew he was in front of a man sent by God. He may not have believed that Jesus was the Messiah but he would have at least known he was in front of a man of God. The man may have been thinking that he was going to get rebuked for his sin or maybe even yelled at for his friends destroying a roof.
Son: a term for young child or endearment as a friend, was Jesus way of letting him know that there was a love for him. Jesus wanted to reassure him that He was welcome and would not be looked down on because of his condition.
In one sense all illness is a result of sin (Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:22,35; 2 Chronicles 21:15-19)
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
The Bible is also clear that your illness is not a result of your sin (Job; John 9:2-3) People believed they could earn favor with God by their actions and therefore His disfavor with wrong actions. Although it is true you reap what you sow (Galatians 6) it is equally true that you reap what others have sown as well. Many people suffer consequences in this life that is not their fault and so to have the mindset that God was somehow dissatisfied with you because of an illness or physical disability is a terrible way to live.
Some say the way this is written it tends to lean toward that this man was somehow paralyzed by actions he committed. As we have seen throughout this Gospel, Jesus is not concerned with how you arrived at the state of sin you are in, He just wants to heal you from it. Jesus does not ask the man how he got in this state, but because the man is in front of Him He knows he has come by faith, or at least the faith of his friends.
One of the things that happened in Jesus time and is happening now is people do not call sin what God calls sin. Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God.
We say things like, “I am not bitter I have just been hurt, or I do not have a drinking problem, I just like to enjoy myself.” We call things lifestyle choices or just how we were brought up. It is not lying it is stretching the truth. We could go on and we all have areas where we need to examine to see if we are justifying our lives instead of facing the reality of what we really are.
I have heard some people even say since Jesus did not condemn a certain sin then it is not wrong. Jesus came to fulfill the law and not abolish it and what He means is, He came to be the ultimate sacrifice for sins but not to do away with the requirement of what is called sin. So although Jesus may have not mentioned certain sins, He also did not say all the things mentioned in the Old Testament are done away with. I wonder when did we get the opportunity as fallen man to say what is and what is not sin?
We all have a way of justifying our sin to not make ourselves look bad but sin is the true problem we all face and it is sin that Jesus came to heal first and foremost. We can do all the political and social changes we want and we will still have problems in this world because we have a sin problem.
Jesus is Lord over Sin and came to defeat it
- Jesus is Lord over physical (Healing)
- Jesus is Lord over Nature (Calming of Storm)
- Jesus is Lord over Spiritual (Casting our Demons)
- Jesus is Lord over Sin (by being the perfect sacrifice)
Sins Are Forgiven
Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,so far does he remove our transgressions from us
Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our[a] sins into the depths of the sea.
Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Isaiah 43:25 I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
1Timothy 1:13-15 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
When translating the Bible for the Eskimos there was no word for forgiveness so they settled on a word that means “not being able to think about it anymore. That is why the Christian story is considered good news because once we ask God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, He is not able to think about it anymore. When those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ stand before Him on the final day we will not give an account for our sin but only for our actions done in Him and for Him.
“The most distinctive message of Christianity is the reality that sin can be forgiven. That is the heart and lifeblood of the gospel, that men can be freed from sin and its consequences.” (John MacArthur)
4) Jesus Proves He is God
Only God can forgive sins and the scribes knew that and so they began to think to themselves that Jesus was blaspheming God. Some people say that Jesus never admitted to being God but you cannot read the Gospel of Matthew and not see that He continues to try and show them He is God, the Messiah in the flesh.
Read vs 4-6
Mark 2:6-7 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Leviticus 24:15-16 And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.
The scribes were the self appointed official interpreters of Torah and so they were watching everything Jesus was saying and they knew unless He could prove He was God that He deserved to be killed. Jesus asked them which one is more difficult, to heal someone, which would have shown Jesus was from God, or to forgive their sins? Of course forgiving sins is not something you can prove so Jesus heals the man to prove that He can also forgive sins, putting Him on equal ground with God.
No other prophet claimed to forgive sins so Jesus was unique in this because although other prophets of God did miracles they never made that claim. If Jesus healed the man then the mans sins were forgiven which meant they were trapped in their own logic. Jesus brought them to that point hoping they would see He was the Messiah.
Jesus Knew their Thoughts
You can imagine the shock on peoples faces when Jesus pointed them out.Whether it was light whispers to each other or if they were just thinking it, Jesus knew what they were thinking even though no one else heard them say anything. This should have been another sign to them that Jesus was God but instead they missed it.
Jesus did this several times throughout His ministry showing that He did not just see mans actions but their hearts as well.
Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there.
Luke 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.
John 6:61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?
Son Of Man
Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man which is an Old Testament reference for the Messiah.
Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Isaiah 33:24 And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.
Jesus proved to them that He could forgive sins but they still did not want to believe in Him.
“Their hearts were so hardened against Christ that every miraculous evidence of His divinity and messiah-ship drove them to deeper unbelief rather than to repentance. Even His most gracious and loving words and acts drove them to greater fury against Him. (John MacArthur)
What amount of proof do you need to realize Jesus was who He said He was? What will it take for you to see all the evidence and believe?
5) The Reaction of the Crowd
Matthew instead of focusing on the Scribes focuses on the crowd and their reaction to the healing. They were afraid, (terror, awe and or reverence) We saw this with the Disciples in the boat when Jesus calmed the storm and maybe part of the reaction the people had when He released the demons into the pigs. It’s a reaction you would have when you are in the presence of someone who is superior.
There are 150 references to the fear of God in the Bible (See Jerry Bridges the Joy of Fearing God pg 24). It is a fear that of a child with their father. A healthy respect that you do not cross certain lines out of respect and a known punishment.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body[a] and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
In C.S. Lewis story the Lion, the witch and the wardrobe this conversation happens between Lucy and the Beavers
“Is he quit safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion. Said Lucy
That you will, dearie, and not mistake, said Mrs. Beaver.
If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just plain silly.
Then He isn’t safe said Lucy
Safe? Said Mr. Beaver; don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.
The way we view God has to change. WE have to know that this God we worship is not our buddy. Yes God says we are His friends but make no mistake in His presence there will be an awe that is unexplainable because we will be with someone that is greater than we can ever know.
Who is that friend that God is calling you out to reach toward and help lead to Jesus?
If you are a skeptic today what amount of proof will it take to convince you that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life?
Sin is the issue and that needs healing and it is also the thing that is paralyzing your relationship with God. Give your life to Christ and the healing from sin will take place.