Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2, verses 8-12.
So we know Jesus isn’t a wuss, that it takes unfathomable courage to speak His truth and do what He did. Fair enough. So what exactly did He do here?
I just finished reading Jesus on Trial by David Limbaugh. If you want an easy-to-read, common-sense apologetic (something that explains something else, usually of a religious nature), read this book. Mr. Limbaugh spends the entire book offering analytical, lawyerly proof that Jesus is who He says He is and that the Bible is true. He does so in the context of talking through how he (Mr. Limbaugh) lived most of his professional life as a skeptic of the faith. Limbaugh didn’t reject the Bible or God as a whole, but he, like so many of us, found it hard to believe that everything it said was the inerrant Word of God.
He persevered in his skepticism until a friend asked him to examine the Scriptures from a lawyer’s point of view. The process took several years and, in doing so, he came to understand that, beyond any reasonable doubt, Jesus is the Son of God.
The people of Mark’s time were skeptical as well. “We have never seen anything like this!” We’ve talked about this before, how Israel had seen miracles for centuries, and how they had misplaced their focus on God even as God didn’t misplace His focus on them. Yet the people there with Jesus, watching Him heal the paralytic man and then announce the forgiveness of sins, couldn’t believe it. They weren’t being asked to take anything on faith: they saw it with their own eyes and still had a hard time believing. They wanted proof.
So Jesus gave it to them. He proved He was a man yet God, that He would heal yet heal both heart and body. He proved He was who they had been waiting on. Centuries later, it would follow, then, that because we are only reading about these things it might be more difficult for us to accept that proof as valid, right? No, not really. Again, referring to Mr. Limbaugh’s book, he outlines the hundreds of accurate and miraculous proofs presented in Scripture that point to the divinity and historicity of Jesus Christ. Jesus is, in fact, through both Scripture and outside accounts, the most well-documented figure in all of antiquity. If we still cling to natural skepticism, then perhaps the heart can be convinced by the mind and proof accepted for what it is.
Jesus came here to save us and left us proof that He is the God of Eternity. He didn’t do it for Himself: He did it for us because we flawed people, like the Pharisees, still want proof.
Lord, I believe in You. My belief in You is because of You, yet thank You for meeting me in my skeptical state.
Read Mark 2, verses 13-17.