A Paralytic Healed: Part 2
What these men had to do—let their friend down through a hole in the roof—was inconvenient, but they did it. It was unconventional, but they did it. It destroyed some property, but they did it. It may have caused bits of debris to fall on the notables, but they did it. They weren’t stopped by the difficulties. Their friend was in need and had to be brought face–to– face with Jesus Christ. And when Jesus saw them, He acted immediately in His love and power.
Note what Mark says in verse 5. Though not a single word was spoken. Jesus, “saw their faith.” Not because they said, “Lord, we believe,” but because this was a case where actions spoke louder than words. Here is the faith that James describes: “Show me your faith apart from your works and by my works I will show you my faith” (James 2:19). True faith must come to the surface in actions.
When Mark says that Jesus saw their faith, I believe that it refers to the faith of all five. It was no small thing for a paralyzed man to be carried and jostled across town, up to a roof and down through a hole. It took faith in Jesus’ power. And Jesus responded to that faith by saying, “My son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5).
Notice that Jesus spoke to the conscience before He spoke to the body. Someone might have said, “Don’t worry about the forgiveness of sins; this man is paralyzed!” But the Lord Jesus’ eye saw first the paralysis of the soul; the paralysis of the body is a secondary matter. The heart need of humanity is the forgiveness of sins more than the healing of the body or anything else. Philanthropy is good, but we who have the Word of God are not dealing with symptoms, but with the source of disease. “The tap root of all misery is sin,” Maclaren points out, “and, until it is grubbed up, hacking at the branches is a sad waste of time.”1 There is but one effectual cure for the world’s misery, and it’s not the United Nations, it’s not conferences and treaties and conventions. That cure was wrought by Him who bore the sins of the world on the cross.
- How did the paralytic and his friends act in faith?
- Why did Christ forgive him of his sins?
- Is Mark’s main point here that he was healed or that his sins were forgiven?
- Read James 2:19, how does this help us understand our faith?
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