Dave preached this morning on Mark 2:1-12, a familiar passage dealing with the healing of a paralytic and also showing us that Jesus, having authority to heal the man’s physical infirmities, also had authority to forgive his sins.

The story involves four main sets of people:
(1) the paralysed man
This man couldn’t walk and couldn’t take care of himself; he was dependent on other people to help him. There is no suggestion in the story that the man’s suffering came as a punishment for a specific sin, but without outside help, he was hopeless. He needed healing which had to come from outside.

We may not feel as helpless as this man, but the truth remains that we are helpless to save ourselves and we need God’s help if we are ever to be drawn into a relationship with Him. We need God!

(2) the faithful friends

These were the ones who struggled to bring the man to Jesus, not put off by the problems they faced (given that Jesus was so popular, crowds had gathered to hear him preach; there was no way they could get the man to Jesus, but this did not stop them!) They were flexible, willing to be unconventional in their approach. All that mattered to them was getting their friend to Jesus: they were confident that when Jesus saw him, He would heal him. Their faith was rewarded, but they demonstrated a tenacity and single-mindedness that we too need to possess.

(3) the crowd of people
These were religious people – why else were they there to hear Jesus? But they were too busy with their own plans to care much for the plight of the paralysed man. They may have pitied him, but they would not change their plans to accommodate him. The religious of this world – and this can, frighteningly, include many in churches – can be so caught up in their religious attitudes that they are prevented from seeing the needs of people around them. The church was not put on this earth just to worship or to listen to good preaching; it is here for the purpose of ministering Jesus to a lost and dying world.

(4) the Scribes

These were the protectors of the law, the ‘super religious’ people of the day. All they heard was that Jesus blasphemed God with His declaration of forgiveness. They didn’t care about the man’s suffering or if he was forgiven or not. Instead of praising God for this healing, they condemned Jesus’s actions.

What kind of person are we as we read this story? Are we helpless, like the paralytic? Are we a faithful friend to those around us? Or are we so caught up in all we are doing that we are content with where we are, uncaring about the needs of others? Or are we adamant that the status quo must be maintained and don’t want anything to spoil our ‘comfortable little club’?

People need friends like this man hand, friends who will think about them, care about them, pray for them and who will bypass the religiosity and ritual and will go to any lengths to get them to Jesus. The call for each disciple of Christ is to be one of the faithful friends ministering to the lost around us.