Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister, LHBC
2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Several years back when I was living in Columbia, TN I had what I like to dramatically refer to as a near death experience with a spider. I was sitting in my apartment and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. I look up and I see it, a spider the size of my couch crawling on the wall. I panicked. I looked around for my weapon of choice and finally settled on a shoe. It was too far up the wall for me to reach so I ran to the dining room, grabbed a chair, and climbed up. I took my aim and after several good swings (had to make sure it was really dead) the deed was done, the spider had been killed. Still freaked out I just wanted to get out of the chair and take a shower. Gross, I hate spiders so much. I was so focused on getting off the chair that I stepped back without paying attention. The chair tilted up on its side and I began to fall. I fell at such an angle that my back came crashing down on the seat and this wooden chair broke into pieces. There I was, lying helplessly on the floor. I was so afraid to move because I just knew I was paralyzed. I had no way to get to my phone to call for help, it was the weekend and Monday was a holiday, I had just moved to the city for a job and was living alone, I knew very few people, and of the people I did know, it was only through work. No one was going to call and check on me. My mind began to race. Dramatic? Yes. But in the moment all I could think was, “This is the end. It’s over. I am going to die right here in this apartment.” Of course after a few minutes I worked up the nerve to move and realized I was not in fact paralyzed. Battered and very bruised, but fully capable of using my legs.
When I think back on my near death experience I am always reminded of the paralytic from Mark chapter two. Jesus was making His way from town to town healing people and had gained quite a following. He gets to Capernaum and enters a house. So many people came to see Him that there was no room left, even outside the door. I can only imagine people were pushing one another out of the way trying to squeeze in to get close to this man that had power over sickness. And then enters four men. They heard Jesus was in town and decided to carry their paralyzed friend to Him on a mat. As soon as they get to the house they realize they won’t be able to get through to see Him.
I’m thinking their friend was getting pretty heavy and was desperate to see Jesus. They didn’t know how long Jesus would be in town so they had to see Him today! I don’t know who came up with the idea but scripture says they decided to take their friend up to the roof, cut out a hole, and lower their friend down right in front of Jesus. Imagine listening carefully to Jesus when all of a sudden you hear something coming from above you. The ceiling is crumbling a bit and everyone stops and looks up to see what’s going on. I’m sure Jesus was smiling as the man was being lowered down. These men were so sure that Jesus would be able to heal him; otherwise they wouldn’t have gone to so much trouble. The first thing Jesus said when He saw that they believed was, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Probably not what the man expected since he came to Jesus wanting to walk however Jesus knew what the man needed most. While being physically paralyzed comes with great difficulties even worse is to live a life unforgiven and spiritually paralyzed by sin.
Before He was finished Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” The Bible says that the man got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. Jesus ultimately healed the man physically but not before He addressed a much more important issue at hand, his paralyzed heart. It’s the same for us. As we approach Easter that fact is more evident than ever. Jesus heals, yes! He is the Great Physician after all! But we can so easily give physical healing all the attention, it’s what we physically see after all… So often we are focused on the outward things. We want health, wealth, and prosperity when Jesus wants so much more for us! His desire is for forgiveness, redemption, and restoration! It was so important that He went to the cross in order to give it to us!
How about you? What issues of the heart are you burdened with today? Take it to the Savior and let Him work a miracle in your heart!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, You are so good and are far more concerned with my heart than you are of my physical body. Lord, help me to focus on what really matters and to never lose sight of the most important thing, a clean heart fixed on You! Renew my heart and make it Yours! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”