Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jesus heals the palsied man - Part One

In the next two-parter from our Bible Lesson (Are sin, disease, and death real?) we have the account in Mark's gospel of Jesus and the man 'sick of the palsy'. Mark's gospel is Peter's memoirs and Peter would have precise memories of this event as it took place in his house.

Many were being drawn to Jesus for his teaching and his healings as he travelled around. He returned to Capernaum and the word flashed around town that he was there and in Peter's house. Immediately crowds formed filling the courtyard completely. No one would even get in the door. Four men arrive, bearing their friend on a cot. Their friend was suffering some sort of paralysis and was not able to move. These men must have absolutely believed that Jesus could heal this. They refused to be discouraged or deterred when it did not seem that they could get anywhere near the Master. Do we have that kind of belief and faith when we actively seek prayerful help but run into obstacles?

At that time houses like Peter's had a stairway along the outside wall that led to the roof. That was a place one could go to sit and watch the sunset or catch whatever breeze was blowing. The men made their way up to that roof and then took apart the covering over the patio area where Jesus was addressing the people. That would have made an impression on Peter as it was his roof! They they lowered their friend down. Jesus must have smiled upon their determination and faith. He speaks to their friend and I am always touched by his words: "Son, thy sins are forgiven thee". We do not know what the man had been up to but it had been sinful behaviour that had destroyed his health. I wonder if that prolonged life style had caused his familly to shun him, cast him off. They were not the ones who had been caring for him, they had not brought him to Jesus. It may have been some time since he had been called 'son'. And who knows how long since he had been forgiven.

In the earlier story of the woman taken in adultery Jesus did not say that she was forgiven her sins. He defused the angry accusers and saved her from punishment by stoning. Then he told her to go and sin no more. The implicaton being that if she did not repeat her offenses but repented she would be forgiven. This time he lets the man know immediately that his sins have been forgiven. By his heavenly Father through his beloved son.

Once again we see that we are forgiven our mistakes when we turn from them and sin no more. We need to do this and then quit bringing them up again and again. Ruminating. Going over and over what we said and did. Shake it off and move to a higher place.

Jesus was not in the condemning business. I used to think maybe he was writing names or sins in the dust but he did not condemn so I think he may have been writing the true qualities that God's children reflect. What is true about us as God's image and likeness. In that incident he dealt with the atmosphere around the woman and her accusers. Tomorrow I will be studying what happens next with the palsied man and how Jesus dealt with the atmosphere in that courtyard where the scribes had gathered to hear him.

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