Getting to the Root Issue? Part 1 (Mark 2:1-12)
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Getting to the Root Issue?
Part 1 The forgiving and healing of the paralytic Mark 2:1-12
What do you want more than anything? What do you wish for? What are you striving for, more than anything else in your life? And if you get it, do you think it will satisfy?
Not long ago, an article was written about struggling actors and actresses who were working as waiters, ushers and attendants in order to pay the bills–until they catch their big break. Like all of us, as they struggled, they would say to themselves, “If only I could make it in the business, if only I had this or that, then I’d be happy.” Like many of us, they were stressed, driven and easily upset. But when they actually got the fame they had been longing for, the article went on to say, they became even more insufferable, unstable, angry and manic. They became not merely arrogant, as you would expect, but far worse than that–they were now unhappier then they used to be.
The author wrote, “I pity celebrities—no, I do. Celebrities were once perfectly pleasant human beings, but now, their wrath is awful. More than any of us, they wanted fame. They worked, they pushed. But the morning after they became famous, they wanted to take an overdose–why? Because the thing they were striving for, that fame that was going to make everything okay, that goal that was going to make their lives bearable, the glory that was going to provide them with personal fulfillment and happiness, had happened. And nothing changed. They were still ‘them’. And the disillusionment turned them howling and insufferable.”
This author was sorry for them. They had the thing they thought would make everything okay, but it didn’t. Then this author goes on to make a statement that takes my breath away. She says, “I think, when God wants to play a really rotten practical joke on you, He grants you your deepest wish.” Though it is not true that God plays rotten practical jokes, it is true many of us are striving for the wrong things. Many of us are seeking to find satisfaction in all the wrong places.
Students desire a girlfriend or boyfriend, singles a spouse, mothers safety and financial security, men a good paycheck, a big chair and massive flat screen TV. Others want the respect of others, fruit in ministry, comfort, wealth, fame, appreciation, esteem, better looks or happiness. But many are looking for it in all the wrong places. Many only see skin deep, and miss examining their hearts. Most are looking on the surface, and don’t dig deep enough.
Open your Bible to Mark chapter 2, and follow in your outline as we meet the paralytic who desires to be cured of his suffering, but discovers that it is his sin that desperately needs cleansing. This man has a bigger problem than his physical condition, and Jesus says to him, “I understand your suffering, and I will get to that, but your deepest problem is your sin.”
That’s like me saying to you, the main problem in your life is not what’s happened to you, not what people have done to you–your main problem is the way you’ve responded to those events. That is good counsel, because you can’t do very much about what’s happened to you or about what other people are doing, but you can do something about yourself.
When the Bible talks about sin, it’s not just referring to the bad things we do. It’s not just about lying or lust or greed–sin is ignoring God in the world He has made. It’s rebelling against Him by living without reference to Him. It’s saying, “I will decide exactly how I live my life,” and Jesus says, “That is your main problem.”
Today, are you looking at your circumstances or your character? Are you wishing for something external, or enjoying internal joy? Are you wanting your hurt taken away, or your heart grown strong? Then this week and next, learn from the paralytic.
As Mark 2 opens, it begins a section of this gospel where Jesus is now being opposed. Between Mark 2 and 3:7 there are five clashes Jesus has with the religious right, the Pharisees, scribes and Herodians, concerning His methods, His men and His ministry. In the midst of this tender scene, as Jesus deals with the paralytic, He also tells us He’s mainly concerned with deeper issues–the forgiveness of sins. This is huge–forgiveness of sins is the message of Christianity. It answers the ultimate question, “How can sinful man be made right with a holy perfect God?”
Though it will take us two weeks to get through, let’s read verses 1 to 12. “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. 4 Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. 5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”? 10 But so 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, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”
If you are here today, wishing for lesser things
If your focus is always on what people are doing to you instead of what God wants to do in your heart
If you are living under guilt, not grace
If you’re limiting what Christ can do in and through your life
If you’re tempted to think Christ doesn’t know what you’re thinking
If you lack faith God is going to work through your circumstances, or in and through your life
. . . then the truths in verses 1 to 12 will transform you, if you’re willing. I pray you are. I have broken these truths into a descriptive outline explaining the text, and all the points start with the letter “P”.
#1 The Place
Look at verse 1, “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home.” Jesus just finished his preaching tour in the synagogues of North Israel in the Galilee region. The last half of chapter one tells us Jesus left Capernaum after preaching with authority, casting out a demon from a possessed man, healing Peter’s mother-in-law, then healing everyone in Capernaum.
Very early the next morning, Jesus went out to pray, and was led to leave Capernaum to teach the Word and share the Gospel with other major cities in the region. While He was on that tour, He healed a leper who spread his fame to such a degree, it became impossible for Jesus to enter into a city. Verse 1 says this preaching tour took several days, which is a vague time reference letting us know Jesus was gone for some time, and when He came back, people were at first unaware He had returned.
Verse 1 says Jesus was at home. What does that mean? Does Jesus own a house? Does the Lord own a condo on the lake? Commentators are divided–some suggest that Jesus moved His family from Nazareth to Capernaum, so now His mother, possibly His sisters and brothers have a home in this city, which became His home base. Others suggest this is still Peter’s house, which the Lord used as a base of operations. Either way, everyone hears Jesus is back and is currently residing at His home base. The phrase in verse 1, “it was heard”, is literally, “it was noised”. At first, His return was quiet, but the news Jesus had returned created noise–it stirred excitement. The people of Capernaum were tracking His movements, and now they know He’s returned. So look what happens in verse 2. “And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.”
First century culture is a little different than our culture. Typically in New Testament times, in Capernaum, the only time the door of your house was closed was at night, or when you were not home, or when you wanted privacy. The remainder of the time, your door was open and anyone could enter at any time. An open door meant an open invitation for all to come in. Open hospitality–mi casa, your casa. No need to invite others over, they just came. People came in and out of each other’s homes freely and often.
So when they heard Jesus was back, they all came over–party! Remember, His teaching blew them away, and He spent an entire evening healing everyone in town of their diseases and debilities. It’s also possible the townsfolk heard that the religious celebs had come to check up on Jesus and were currently with him. Verse 6 tells us the scribes were present, and the gospel of Luke makes it clear the Pharisees from all over Israel had come to scope out the Lord–so this is big. No one wanted to miss this event, so they all made their way over to the home base and crammed inside the house.
But so many had come, verse 2 says, “There was no longer room inside.” And as others kept gathering to see Christ, you could not even get near the front door to hear. Look at verse 2. They wanted to hear, since Christ was speaking the Word to them. This word “speaking” is not preaching here, but the Greek word “speaking” describes Christ continually saying and talking about the Word of God. Wouldn’t you love to have been present at this fireside chat–this theological discussion? This is a conversation with Christ. The Living Word is speaking the written Word. Their hearts must have burned as they heard God’s truth from God Himself.
This is what Jesus did–He didn’t focus on miracles, healings, supernatural experiences, feelings, dreams, thoughts, or ideas–Jesus Christ focused on the Word, and He proclaimed the Gospel. The gospel of Mark has already made this abundantly clear.
Mark 1:14 and 15, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’”
Mark 1:21 and 22, “Immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority.”
Mark 1:27, “A new teaching with authority!”
Mark 1:38, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.”
Do you have the same confidence Jesus had in the Word of God? Do you trust in the sufficiency of the Word of God, like Christ did? Are you more focused on the Word of God than experience or feeling? So here is Christ in the center of this home, crammed with people and visiting religious leaders, dialoguing over God’s Word. Now the stage is set.
#2 The Paralytic
Picture this as I read verses 3 and 4, “And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men.” Literally, verse 3 says this, “They themselves came–carrying one who is paralyzed toward Jesus, being lifted up by four.” Out of nowhere, four men are on a mission to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus.
I want to know the backstory. I have questions, don’t you? What happened to make him a paralytic–birth defect, spinal cord or brain injury, or a degenerative disease? Why did they miss the night of healing that happened in Capernaum back in Mark 1:32 to 34 when everyone in the city was healed? Why did they miss that grand healing event? Or were they present that night, but couldn’t get to Jesus? Or did they not know it was going on, and heard about it later? Or did they fail to organize four guys fast enough to get to Jesus? Or did his injury just occur, while Jesus was on His preaching tour? Was the paralytic friends with the four men–were they a crew? Were they out working or playing together when one was injured? Were they doing something they shouldn’t have been doing and one of them became paralyzed, and the others felt responsible? Or as close friends, one became sick and the others wanted to help? Or after hearing about and seeing the incredible healings of Jesus from chapter one, were they psyched and ready for Jesus to return so that once He did, they’d immediately bring their friend to Him?
You get that impression by what Mark says in verse 4, “Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying.” Can you see these four guys trying to get through an impassible crowd to the house where Jesus was teaching, while carrying a litter with a prone, motionless man? There were no wheel chairs back then, so he had to be carried on a stretcher with a man at each corner. This is not an easy task–it requires cooperation and strength.
And the paralytic can’t help or guide them–he is motionless. His muscles don’t move–he is probably a quadriplegic. Plus they were most likely rebuffed–maybe even rudely. Can you hear them? “No way, sorry, quiet, we can’t hear, come back later.” People were not going to give up their spot–for many, the crowd was so packed they could not have helped, even if they wanted to.
Look at the first two words of verse 4–Mark says “being unable.” The original tells us they were continually trying–not just once. Let’s go this way, no try over here, how about coming from the other side of the street, maybe this guy will let us through. They tried every way they could to get their paralyzed friend to Christ, but the throng of people was too large, too packed and too immovable.
Then one of them came up with a brilliant, “no one is going to stop us–we will not fail in our mission” idea. I have friends like this–do you? Never-give-up brothers. New Testament homes had flat roofs, which were often used as social gatherings, so they had outdoor stairways attached to the outside of the house that led up to the roof. So this five some, either went up on the stairway, which is just outside the house, or they got up to the roof on the house next door and simply stepped over to the roof where Jesus was.
Then this never-say-die crew dug a hole in the roof—wow! I love these guys. “We are going to get our friend to Jesus. Christ can heal our friend–so if you are not going to let us in, then we’ll find our own way. This is called sanctified ingenuity. Verse 4 says they removed the roof above Him–they literally unroofed the roof where Christ was continually remaining. The Greek text, “they had dug an opening” paints a picture of continually digging a hole. It wasn’t merely lifting one tile off, then they were ready to lower their friend. This was a long process.
I wish I knew what was going on in the room below them. Did Jesus keep teaching? Were the scribes or Pharisees indignant? If it was Peter’s house, was his wife or mother-in-law saying, “Peter! They’re wrecking our house–do something!”
Everyone agrees that New Testament roofs were made of a series of wooden beams spaced three to four feet across. Then those beams were crisscrossed by smaller branches four to five feet long. Then that foundation was covered with either flat stones, which were then sealed by a couple of inches of clay to keep the rain out, or a six-inch inch thick grassy sod which did the same.
So what you’re witnessing is the sound of ripping and tearing, followed by digging and breaking small branches–finally some sunlight cracks through a small hole, which gets larger and larger while dirt and dust begin to spill down in front of Christ and the crowd gathered inside the house. This didn’t seem to be done in a way that created danger to those below, but I wonder, don’t you? Was there coughing, silence, comments, correction—like, “What are guys doing?”, or “Stop it.”
But once the opening was big enough, verse 4 says they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. I don’t believe they brought ropes–this was not their original plan. Maybe they borrowed some of Peter’s fishing tackle in order to get him down. But here he is, a paralytic—he can’t move, probably can’t talk, but his four friends go to extreme measures to get him to Jesus. Can you picture looking up, seeing four sweaty, impish faces lowering a stretcher on ropes through the roof, while below Pharisees and scribes are brushing roof dirt off their robes?
I hope I get to meet these four guys, because verse 5 tells us Jesus was not merely looking at the paralytic, but He was also looking at the four of them. In verse 5, “He saw their faith.” And my FBC family, don’t miss what is exposed here by the action of these four friends. No one can doubt, they had . . .
First Great love for this paralytic, didn’t they?
They would not be put off by the crowd–they even vandalized another’s property to achieve their goal. They ignored the protests and judgments of those around them for the sake of their friend. Perhaps he was family–a beloved brother or uncle or father. Maybe he was simply a neighbor with whom they had grown up–or my guess, they were his crew, young men bound together.
Whatever the relationship, they loved their bro–and whatever happened that day, healing or not, the paralytic was a very rich man, since he had something most people never find–genuine friends. But along with great love, his friends also had . . .
Second Great faith in Christ
There is no way they would’ve gone to such outrageous extremes if they didn’t implicitly believe that Christ could and would heal their friend. A wavering faith would have demurred when they began hoisting the stretcher up to the roof. A weak faith would’ve jibbed when they began digging the roof, saying things like, “Dudes, this is embarrassing.” You guys can keep digging, but I am outta here.”
But they truly believed Christ could and possibly would heal him. Maybe they were present at the miracle night in Mark 1:32? Maybe they were related to others who were healed? Maybe one or more of the four had been healed themselves? But they knew Christ could heal their severely handicapped friend. So today, let their faith deliver you from doubt and fear.
1 Their faith was persistent
Once they got their friend on the stretcher, there was no stopping them. When they hit a dead end or faced an obstacle, none of them said, “Well, the crowd is too thick–I guess it isn’t the Lord’s will.
2 Their faith was creative
When the Lord closes a door, He always opens a window somewhere–and in this case, they opened the roof. Because they passionately trusted Christ’s ability to heal, and since they loved their friend so deeply, their faith became inventive. Their faith was persistent, creative and . . .
3 Their faith was sacrificial
Someone would have to pay for the roof or repair it. That would take time, labor and expense. One commentator said, “A faith that brings God’s power to the world is always willing to pay the price.” Some of you here live by this kind of faith–you do. How is it seen?
You give faithfully and sacrificially to the Lord’s work through FBC, believing God will use this church body to bring Christ glory. So instead of a twenty at offering time, or a hundred a month, you arrange your budget so you can give 10% or more of your income faithfully. Many of you serve sacrificially when no one notices–you faithfully show up every time to serve Christ by serving others. Some have made painful decisions in order to keep your family at a church where God’s Word is taught and people pursue Christ. There are more indicators–trust during personal trial, manifesting joy and thanks in a difficult marriage, dependence on God’s Word no matter what, waiting for God to work in another’s life and so much more.
But that is what it means to live by faith–to be faithfully persistent, sacrificial, even creative in your dependence on Christ, just like these four were. And now, the scene turns to the center of the room where the Prince and the paralytic meet face to face, resulting in . . .
#3 The Pardon
Verse 5, “And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Ever been interrupted while you were teaching the Bible? I have been–by coughing, laughing, getting up, talking, note passing, making faces, crying babies, loud sneezes, nose blowing, gagging, medical emergencies, even defiant challenges. But I have never had someone dig open the roof above me and lower a man down–don’t try it. I have to say those things to my church family.
As the Lord watches them lower this man on his pallet, he is literally continuing to see their faith, their trust, and hope. Their faith is in their hearts and worn on their faces. So as they lower him down, Christ is looking at them and sees it. Most believe the faith Jesus sees here is from all five men. The paralytic and the four who carry Him are all determined to come before Christ, because they are all trusting that Christ can, and hopefully will, heal him.
So even though they interrupted Christ’s teaching, He didn’t rebuke them for it, but actually approved their action of faith. They literally drop the paralytic in the Lord’s lap, but as they do Jesus indirectly commends their faith by immediately turning His attention to their suffering friend by saying the greatest words ever spoken, answering our deepest need.
Jesus says in verse 5, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Why does Jesus say this? Why doesn’t He say, “Son, you’re healed. You’re no longer paralyzed?” That’s why they dug open the roof. Why does Jesus start with forgiving his sin?
First Forgiveness of sin is the paralytic’s greatest burden
Cripples have always suffered a social stigma and neglect, no matter where or when they’ve lived. But in Jesus’s day, the Jewish culture made that stigma immeasurably bad by the belief that all disease and affliction were the direct result of someone’s sin. If you were sick, to most Jews, it meant God was angry at you. You heard the disciples say in John 9:1 to 2, “As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’”
Though it’s true that affliction, pain and hardship are the result of the presence of sin in the world, they are not necessarily brought on by the specific sin of the person who is suffering. Not all sickness is chastening, though all sickness is a graphic demonstration of the destructive power of sin at work in the world.
Like his fellow Jews, the paralytic believed his paralysis was direct punishment for his own sin or that of his parents or relatives. And that thought intensified the weight of his suffering. In his own mind and in the minds of the people around him, they all thought his paralysis was an obvious indicator of his own sinfulness, and of God’s judgment for his sin. You’re crippled cause you sinned.
In that culture, the belief that sin caused your disability would cause crippled or diseased people to shun crowds. But the paralytic was determined to see Jesus at any cost. And because he associated his paralysis with his sin, his first concern was for forgiveness, which to his thinking would have automatically brought healing. He came repentantly to Christ. And although his theology was errant and erroneous, he was right in believing that his greatest need was spiritual.
Second Forgiveness of sin is the paralytic’s greatest need
Right now, remember what you were like before Christ? Recall what kind of person you were? Bring to mind what you were, what you did, said, thought, wished for, wanted and dreamed about. Remember your guilt, the torment of conscience and sickness of sin–the lust, anger, greed, hate, revenge, pride, harsh words and more. Then speculate for a moment–what would have become of you had Christ not rescued you, saved you by forgiving you.
Forgiveness of sin is God’s greatest gift, because it meets your greatest need. What’s your need? You are full of sin, stained with sin, corrupted by sin, dead in sin, and need to be forgiven for sin. Like a credit card bill you can never repay, you are in debt to God for sin, and someone must pay your bill, or you are going to hell.
Sin is transgression of God’s law, defiance of God’s character, and defiling God’s image in man. Sin is rebellion against God, and ingratitude toward God. Sin affects the body, mind and spirit, and is incurable through any human means. Sin brings people under the dominion of Satan, and brings them under the wrath of God. Sin subjects people to trouble, emptiness, lack of peace, and results in eternal hell if you don’t repent–Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We’re all in trouble, and all in a horrible, fallen condition–which makes forgiveness for sins the greatest news in the world. And it’s what makes verse 5 so amazing, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Feel the full impact of what Jesus says. Here are eight deep truths that are gold, dug out of the little phrase, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
1 Christ’s forgiveness is intimate
Christ didn’t send an e-mail or phone call—it was personal. Jesus says, “Son,” sharing tender-hearted words of comfort. The word “son” means child of any age or sex, and is translated son here because Jesus was speaking to a man, with tender affection. Son was used in that day, as it is in our own day, as a term of friendship and identity, even with a person you just met. So as the paralytic repentantly identifies himself with Christ, Christ lovingly identifies Himself with the paralytic, “My son”! That intimacy belongs to all of Christ’s children–Christ says to you, “My child.”
2 Christ’s forgiveness is an undeniable fact
Your sins are forgiven. The verb forgiven doesn’t indicate possibility or wishfulness–the verb, “you are forgiven” here is a fact–a stated reality, a certainty, a truism. When you’re forgiven by Christ, it is set in stone, done, completed, certain–now and forever, Christian, a fact.
3 Christ’s forgiveness is accomplished for you
Your sins are forgiven. The verb does not allow you to take any action in your forgiveness. When Jesus says to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” He uses the passive voice, meaning your forgiveness is done for you–forgiveness is done to you. Jesus removes the burden of your guilt.
It is Christ who accomplishes this. Only God can forgive sins, and only a man can be a substitute for people and die in our place. And only a man can die, and thus pay the wages of sin, which is death. And only Christ was both God and man. He alone accomplished our forgiveness, and Jesus makes it clear, with, “Your sins are forgiven.”
4 Christ’s forgiveness is enduring
The Lord makes it clear that forgiveness is not temporary here. When Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven,” He uses the present tense. Your sins are continually, ceaselessly and always forever forgiven. Jesus is saying to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven at this very moment, and will continue to be forgiven forevermore.” You have received a full pardon. All sin–past, present and future has been taken care of by Christ for you. And Christian, because Christ is eternal, your forgiveness is eternal and enduring.
5 Christ’s forgiveness is repairing
When Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” the word for sins has the main idea of missing the mark, aberration from the truth, violation of law, and neglecting responsibility. In other words, you’re a lying, lazy, guilty criminal who rebelled against your Creator’s perfect plan for your life, and defiantly went your own way. You broke with your Creator–you rebelled against Him.
But to be forgiven for your sins repairs that relationship–it restores you once again to know your God intimately, relationally, and Christian, to be able to walk with Him who is love, joy and truth, now and forever.
6 Christ’s forgiveness is comprehensive
As Jesus looks down at this man who was dropped in his lap, He says, “Son, your sins are forgiven”–not your sin is forgiven, but your sins are forgiven. Not merely the single sin which may have led to his injury, if he had been foolish or criminal, then was injured as a result. Not merely the one sin which he and others thought brought about his paralysis, wrongly thinking his sin directly caused his suffering.
No, Jesus says, all your sins are forgiven–sins is plural That is good news for the paralytic, and good news for us. Not merely the sins that broke you and brought you to Christ, but all your sins since then, today and till your death have been paid for by Christ on the cross. Jesus said it is finished, comprehensive.
7 Christ’s forgiveness is freeing
Deliverance–as Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” the verb forgiveness is literally translated are being sent off. It is sending away, or even driving or pushing away. Forgiveness is doing away with sins. Is there any better word that can be spoken in any language? Is there any sweeter truth that can be embraced than we are forgiven? Our sins are done away, driven from us and sent off.
David declared in Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” In Micah 7:19 the prophet told them, when God forgives sins He will cast them into the depths of the sea. Speaking of the promises of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:34, God declared, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” The Old Testament also likens God’s forgiveness to His casting sins behind His back (Isaiah 38), wiping them out (Isaiah 43), and trampling them under His feet (Micah 7:19).
Paralytic and Christian–your debt has been paid. Your slate is wiped clean, your offenses have been forgotten, your stain washed white, your darkness made light, your crimes pardoned, your betrayal exonerated, and your offenses forgiven.
You have been delivered, freed–your sins have been sent away. Each word of this powerful sentence, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” hit the paralytic, everyone in the room, and all of us today, like a cannonball. In fact . . .
8 Christ’s forgiveness is Christ’s emphasis
When Jesus says, “Son, your sins are forgiven,” He actually speaks the very word forgiven with great emphasis. Mark puts the verb forgiven in the emphatic position in the original language, telling us what Jesus literally said was this—forgiven are your sins, Son. Forgiveness is the greatest of all miracles, and it has happened to many of you. Our Holy God can forgive the sins of unholy people.
In the Old Testament, they slaughtered and bled out sheep in a gory demonstration of death for sin in the hope of forgiveness. Today we look back to the New Testament, when God became a man in the person of Christ, lived perfectly, then offered Himself on a cross. There, the final Lamb of God bore all of God’s punishment for the sins of His children–He paid the price for sin in His death, and satisfied the wrath of God for your sin, taking your place.
He died for your crimes, He suffered because you were guilty, He bore God’s anger because your sin is defiant and sick. But only as you put all your trust in Christ can you be forgiven. Only as you turn from your sin in repentance and turn to Christ with total dependence of faith can you be saved. Turn to Christ right now, today–stop waiting and admit you desperately need to be forgiven now and forever. Let’s pray.
With heads down and eyes closed–are you focusing on the most important things? The external things, or the internal things? Are you focused more on your health, or your heart? Your house, or your heavenly home? Your family or your Father in Heaven? Christian, are you living by faith? Are you persistent, creative and sacrificial? Are you longing for heaven, and seeking to invest your time, money and service into heaven, or is it all for now? Really? Does your faith show itself in how you talk? Salvation is a gift–when it’s real, there is faith and repentance, and both faith and repentance are demonstrated through a life.
Are you enjoying your status as a forgiven sinner? Are you guilty or washed clean? Do you confess, repent and get help with your sin? Do you think and feel forgiven today, or have you forgotten what Jesus actually did for you? Do you know Christ personally and intimately? Has he said to you, “My child, your sins are forgiven”? Have you been made new, whole, right? Or do you need to turn to Christ right now?
[…] my childhood, and somehow missed the great lesson on God’s forgiveness embedded in the text. Chris’s sermon on Sunday revealed the richness of this interaction with […]