When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2, verse 5.
Hello my friend. It’s good to be back with you. I was gone for the last month after my Mom died at the end of October. The ensuing time has been both frustrating and rewarding; pretty much what you’d expect when you lose someone. Yet I know she went home to Heaven, and that all will be well in God’s good time.
I know it because Jesus saw her faith. Just like He did the man in this verse. See, I don’t think you can overstate the enormity of this verse. The Son of God speaks to a man, a paralyzed “sinner,” and the man’s maladies are wiped out. Jesus saw that the man and the men who had brought him there believed He was the righteous Son of God. He saw their earnest faith and that it was for real, not contrived, not fake, not just for the show, not just to get something from Him.
Can you or I really wrap our noggins around that? I mean, seriously? NOTHING in this universe was made without Jesus. Jesus saw the man where he was, just as he was. The man’s friends had cut a hole in the ceiling and lowered him down just in the off-chance that the Nazarene miracle worker might work a miracle. And He did. Jesus saw the man where he was, assessing his true condition: faith, not paralysis, defined him, even as physical ailments debilitated him and the guilt of sin (that we each carry) weighed down his heart. And Jesus loved him anyway.
This isn’t just some fable: think of it as a news report, as a chronicle of something that happened. Because that’s what it is. Jesus healed the man in the way that he most needed healing. In the two thousand years since then, the same thing has happened countless times in countless ways because that’s what Jesus does. He meets us, summarizes our faith, and acts accordingly. He does; He doesn’t just talk. Jesus is action.
Don’t believe me? I watched it happen. I held onto my mother’s hand while she was dying. Mom didn’t want to die; none of us really does. I think that, throughout her life, she was skeptical of faith, always holding out a question or two even as she knew in her heart that all the Bible lessons were true. She was a sinner like me and you, and death had finally come to meet her. That could have been a frightening prospect, yet in the few hours between declining health and going to Heaven, she let go of her skepticism and embraced her coming reward. Good pastor friends stayed with my family and I as we sat at her side, praying with us, preparing us – and Mom – for her time of deliverance. During her last moments of consciousness, Mom said her goodbyes and gave us her love because she knew her skepticism was unneeded and her sins fully forgiven.
I have full faith and confidence, just as I do in any truth, that Mom went to heaven and was met there by the Lord, the same Lord who forgave and healed the paralyzed man. I believe He said “welcome home.” The enormity of that moment was made possible because of Jesus living, then dying, here on the Third Rock, leaving behind for us all the lessons we would ever need to join Him in what lies beyond. While He was here, Jesus met people where they were, in the middle of their struggles. And in doing so, He freed them from the paralysis of their sins. Just like He does us now.
Lord, I’ve been a sinful man. Forgive me and heal me. I want to walk in following You.
Read Mark 2.