This last weekend at Freedom Church, Pastor Scott shared a message about A Question of Forgiveness from Mark 2:1-12. He shared about how this passage demonstrates Man’s desperate need for forgiveness and Jesus Christ’s authority to forgive sins; meeting our most basic need.
It was a great message, I encourage you to spend a half-hour and watch it!
As a quick recap, Mark 2:1-12 is the story of the friends who dug through the roof of Peter’s house and lowered this paralyzed man to Jesus as he was teaching. Jesus saw this guy’s faith and forgave him of his sins. The religious teachers were thrown into a frenzy saying, “Only God can forgive sins!” (v. 7) Jesus stamped his authority on the situation and then ended up telling the man to, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (v. 11) Everyone was amazed and began worshiping God!
WOW! What a great story!
At the end of the sermon, Pastor Scott asked us a few questions. One of the questions made me pause and think.
Who are you in the story?
You’re not Jesus. But which of the 4 other characters are you in this story?
Are you one of the people in the crowd?
Have you ever heard of #FOMO? (Fear Of Missing Out)
I think that’s what was happening here in the town of Capernaum.
Mark tells us that the news spread quickly that Jesus was back in town. Not long after that news came out, the house Jesus was staying at was so full of people. Mark says that so many people came, there was no more room inside the house. So, the latecomers had to stand in the doorway and outside with the hope of hearing Jesus teach.
They were so desperate to hear. So longing to learn. So eager to listen to the preaching of the Good word.
Maybe you’re one of the friends?
If ever there was an award for the best group of friends, these four guys should win! Am I right?
They must have known of Jesus’ power to heal beforehand. They knew they could help out their paralyzed friend and they were determined to get him in front of Jesus. When they saw the front door was a no go, they didn’t quit.
They went into full contractor beast mode and put a DIY skylight in Peter’s roof and ceiling! One way or another they knew they needed to get their buddy, their pal, to Jesus.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to carry a man across town, through a crowd, then lift him to the second story of the house only to dig through a thick, cement-like surface to then lower the dead-weight of a man down gently but that doesn’t sound like a fun day in the sun to me.
These guys are perfect examples of what Jesus is going to be teaching about later in Mark 12 when he’s asked about the greatest commandment.
Perhaps, you’re you the paralytic?
We know very little about this guy and how he became paralyzed other than the knowledge that he had some great friends.
We do know is that he had faith. Plus, what we can infer is that he was someone who needed help. He had a physical hindrance between him and Jesus.
Without the help of other people lifting him, he may have never been able to see the face of the man who was not only going to heal him but forgive him of his sins.
Or are you of the religious teachers?
The religious teachers were a subgroup of the crowd.
They were just as curious and interested to see what was going to happen. They had probably heard of some of the cool things that happened last time Jesus was in town (see Mark 1:21-39) and want to get a glimpse of it themselves.
However, there was a major difference between them and the rest of the crowd: the skepticism in their hearts.
Mark doesn’t tell us that they said anything. Jesus knew what was in their hearts and he called them out on that! (FYI: Jesus knows what’s in your heart too, better check ya self).
Did they not believe the stories they had heard? Or did they simply need to see the miracles themselves?
Whatever it was, something changed when they heard Jesus tell the paralyzed man to get up and walk away. Mark clearly says in verse 12 that “they were ALL amazed” as the paralyzed man immediately got up and left.
Not just the crowd. Not just his friends. THEY WERE ALL AMAZED and they ALL began to worship God.
So, I ask one more time. Answer honestly. Who are you in the story?
Are you one of the crowd? Someone who hears that Jesus is preaching and immediately drop what you are doing to go get a spot? Nothing wrong with these people. But I have to wonder if they also knew of the paralyzed man. Did they see the effort some were making to get him to Jesus to be healed? Or were they too wrapped up in getting the best spot to take care of themselves before others?
Are you one of the four friends? Someone who hears that Jesus is back in town, knowing what happened last time so you run over to someone who needs help and stops just short of ruining the structural integrity of someone else’s house to get your friend the help they need.
Are you the paralytic person? You know you need help but can’t do it on your own. You’re hurting and need to rely on someone(s) to get you to the right place so that you can get back in the right place with God and have him heal you.
Are you one of the religious teachers? Someone who is skeptical of everything and refuses to believe that Jesus can help them or anyone else. Someone who has heard of some good things happening, but because something good hasn’t happened to them, then it can’t be real and begin looking for any small crack to bust open the story.
I’m probably able to find all 4 characters in myself. I’ve been eager and selfish like those in the crowd. I’ve been one who desperately wants to help a friend. I’ve been someone who couldn’t go one without a friend to pick me up and bring me back to Jesus. I’ve even been the skeptical one who refuses to see God’s goodness because it wasn’t happening to me.
So, one last time, who are you in the story? Better yet, who do you want to be?
Once you can answer these questions, what do you need to do now?