Faith, Paralysis, Forgiveness and Healing
Translated by Allan Liang
Jesus, according to God’s time, at age 30 began to preach, received his baptism and prevailed over temptations, healed sicknesses and exorcised demons, putting his power on full display. He was fully God and was fully man. Jesus's fame spread quickly across the land. Many gather to listen, desiring to also be healed. Jesus, however, drew to the deserts to pray. (Mark :15-16). After preaching in the villages for some time, he returned to Capernaum. Many people came to see him, so many such that there was no empty space in front of the doors. They came perhaps merely to receive healing, perhaps out of curiosity, however, no matter the true reason, Jesus received them with kindness and grace, using preaching to attend to the people. Only Jesus is our bread of life. How great is the joy that this scene brings, how earnestly do we hope that after the pandemic, our church may welcome a similar scene, one of people rushing in to hear the truth. May God help us seize onto what time that remains, so that we may pray for lost souls and the souls of those around us. In verses 1-12, therein contains a story of a paralytic man who was brought to Jesus in search of healing. His situation was very unfortunate, unable to walk, brought there with the help of his four friends. This reveals his pitiful state, and shows the sympathy and love expressed to him by his friends. The sufferings others endure may one day come upon us, therefore we ought to show love and kindness to those under such circumstances. Now, because of the crowded people, a hole was bored on the roof of the house in which Jesus taught, through which the paralytic was lowered from. The houses of that time were flat in shape and were constructed using branches glued together with adhesive soil. Hence, there was little difficulty creating a hole. A ladder was also located besides the house. We do not know what financial costs this creating of a hole would have incurred, though the owners of the house must have also had great love and sympathy in order to have permitted such an act. What was more surprising was the faith they had shown, that of the four friends who had brought the man here, and particularly, that of the man himself. Seeing their collective faith, Jesus was moved and said to the man “son, your sins are forgiven.” In saying this, Jesus not only showed his love and mercy but also demonstrated his authority to forgive sin, an authority that, throughout scripture, only God himself possessed. In saying that, Jesus implied that he had the authority of God, further indicating that he was God. Jesus in saying “your sins are forgiven” allows us to see the interrelations between sin and disease. Jesus healed sicknesses to cure the root problem of sin. Jesus first forgave the man of his sins, solving the root of the problem, then he commanded him to stand up and walk. Verses 9-11 from the perspective of the common person, produces the appearance of the declaration of the forgiveness of sins being the easier of the two proclamations, as it demanded no external validation whereas the consequence of the command to walk was plainly evident. Jesus revealed through the miracle of healing the paralytic that he has the authority of God - the authority to forgive sins. Jesus connected the authority to forgive sins and the authority to heal sickness. The power of healing demonstrated by Jesus ultimately was God’s work (Psalm 41:4, Jeremiah 3:22 Oh you sons and daughters who have forsaken the word, return! I will heal you of your wayward sickness. See, we have come to you, for you oh LORD are our God. Hosea 14:4 I will heal their sin of waywardness and love them, my anger will turn away from them.) In this, the lively power of God was manifested, the scribes did not believe, the people were astonished and gave glory to God, blessed are those who are poor in spirit (Mathew 5:3, 4, 7) Jesus is the ruler of this pandemic, hence let us not waste this panic but rather taste the grace of God, always being amazed - “we have never seen such things before”, such that our fear and reverence of him may greatly increase. In this time of global pandemic, how greatly do we desire that God use us , may each one of us have the same faith and love as the paralytic’s friends, fervently praying and bringing forth petitions to God. We pray for those who have not yet received Jesus, those who are in pain and suffering , and particularly, those who have been affected by the virus, may God give them the faith of the paralyzed man, so that they may seek God and receive the hope of eternal life. “Knowing your only God, and knowing the one he has sent, Jesus Christ, this is eternal life”. (John 17:3) Let us reflect as Christians whether we harbor the same sort of fears and anxieties that the unbelievers harbor, so fixated on the statistics and latest news of the virus that we neglect God and forfeit our duties to pray and draw near to him. Let us not permit our spiritual lives to implode and consequently, become paralyzed. Christians, let us draw near to God every day and every moment, for he has great power, able to forgive us of our sins and heal every infirmity. There is a particular hymn that would suit this occasion: 173 I desire for Christ Alone. With God in the boats of our lives there is no place for fear of the stormy waves. Once we knew only of asking, now we will spring forth in praise. We will always exalt the LORD Jesus, praising him without end. Christ is in all and is all my all. Let us pray for the virus and may our Church and the lives of every believer receive a spiritual revival. Please meditate upon Mark 2:1-12 and offer up in prayer: in this time of pandemic, how am I to trust in Jesus’s power of healing and exorcism, and imitate him in his perseverance of prayer? May God give us the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends so that we may pursue him at all costs. May God help us emulate the actions of the man and his friend so that we may “carry” many people to church and “carry” many people to the gospel of the Lord Jesus. Amen!