Mark 2:1-12 – Jesus Heals a Paralytic
When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
There is so much in this passage, but the piece that has always resonated most with me is the friends of this man and the lengths they go for their friend. The crazy thing is that the text says that Jesus saw “their” (the friends’) faith and not the faith of the man on the mat. There’s a lot of theological depth and questions around that idea, but think about it…the faith that your friends have can have an impact upon you? This flies in the face of so much of the individualism that is a part of our American culture and has become a part of American Christianity with such an emphasis upon ones’ own personal walk with Jesus. My faith impacts my sisters and brothers and theirs impacts me – wow. That’s a tremendous encouragement and a tremendous challenge.
This hat sits on one of my shelves in my office next to the picture of my seminary graduating class. The hat is the hat for my covenant group of guys with whom I have been meeting annually nearly every year since we graduated. We have been through a LOT together. They have been there for me through a LOT and I hope I have been the same for them. The name for our group comes from the greek word Hupomeno – one definition is to persevere under misfortunes and trials, to remain steadfast, and to endure. Just like these guys in this story – abiding with their friend and bringing about a life-changing transformation. I am thankful for my Hupo brothers and the many others whose faith has impacted my own.