Mark: According To
When the Roof was Opened
In our last post we finished by stating that Jesus’ preaching and teaching, along with His many miracles moved out of the towns to the countryside. This is true for He primarily stayed out of the cities and villages, but with Capernaum it was different. It was the home of Simon Peter and it was within this home the Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law. And within this home he often found quiet solitude.
1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And he preached the word to them.
As much as possible, I am trying to limit references to the other gospels as we go through the book of Mark. The reason is that Mark was written before the others, so references to these other gospels would not have been available, unless in the form of one person talking to another of events they had witnessed or heard. But this time I am going to make an exception, because it is important to note what Dr. Luke has to say concerning the people that had come to Peter’s house to hear Jesus. Luke the historian and Dr. tells this story in Luke 5:17-26, but it is verse 17 I want us to pay close attention to. 17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the LORD was present to heal them.
Based on what we just read, it would appear that Peter’s house was full of people, but not necessarily people from Capernaum because Luke makes it appear that the people within the house was made up of scribes, Pharisees and religious rulers form all over Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem. Of course, the Disciples were also present sitting as near to Jesus as possible.
Why is this significant to note? Because of what follows next. Verse three of Mark chapter 2; Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd . . . .
Several years ago, I hurt my back and suddenly found myself unable to crawl much less walk. I needed help getting to wherever I needed to go. So, perhaps in some small way I can understand how the paralytic man felt. He had heard there was this great healer that was in town, he had no way of getting there himself, so he had to enlist help, help from four strong friends that could pick him up and carry him to Jesus.
How his heart must have sunk as he neared the house of Simon Peter only to be denied entrance because it was full of the religious leaders who had no desire to save anyone’s life either spiritually or physically.
It reminds me of some churches I know in which the people are so busy finding fault with whoever is supposed to lead the church that they fail to see the spiritually crippled who have been helped by a few faithful servants.
But the man did not give up, he begged his friends to uncover the roof and lower him down before Jesus. 4 . . . because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
Four strong men went to work to assure the salvation for someone that was physically and spiritually unable to attain salvation on his own accord. He had no physically ability to achieve salvation without his four friends.
Upon studying this story and watching converts come into the church, I have made a little discovery. People are much more likely to continue to come to church is someone bring them to church. Once that person is at church it is important to connect them with 3 other friends. Not to form an exclusive club, but to lift him up where he is weak, and to teach and show him the love of God.
When this is accomplished within our churches then the chances of them remaining and becoming actively involved increases.
5 And When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven you.”
6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
After sitting in board meetings and committee meetings the response of these scribes does not astound me at all. When we fail to look at all sides of an issue and allow our preconceived ideas get in the way of what is really happening, we risk sounding a lot like the scribes who were reasoning in their heart. They had missed the point in all the teaching, and preaching and healing that Christ had performed. They missed the point that the Messiah came not as a conquering hero, but as a servant, sent to model the love of the Father and show us a better way of salvation.
Part of the problem was that the religious leaders felt it was the priests forgave sin under the ceremonial system. Because they presided over a person’s confession but did not actual speak words of forgiveness. But the truth is that the priest’s acceptance of the confession merely symbolized God’s acceptance. By their refusal to recognize evidence of the presence and operation of divinity the scribes were committing the very sin of which, in their hearts they accursed Christ. Yet the scribes were correct that the Old Testament clearly taught that God forgives sin. Their error was in failing to recognize that the Man who stood before them was God.
But Jesus read their hearts and knew the spirit from which filled their hearts so he said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise take up your bed and walk?”
There it was, Christ was throwing out the question yet they did not answer. Who was this Jesus that healed the sick. After all this was the second paralytic he had healed, the first being on the Sabbath, at the pool of Bethesda. This had caused the scribes and Pharisees and priests to run Jesus out of Jerusalem and now they were following Him wherever he went trying to find fault, to trip him up.
Again this was a ploy of Satan to prevent Christ from going to the cross. If he could get the religious leaders upset enough, perhaps they would attempt to take Jesus life. Then the plan of salvation would be null and void.
Jesus then states so there would be no question: 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” He said to the Paralytic.
The prophet Daniel had used this same language to describe the Messiah where he states Son of Man (Daniel 7:13). Therefore they had further evidence who Jesus truly was.
11 I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
God always rewards effort. In this case the faith of the paralytic and of the effort put forth by his four friends in opening up the roof when the religious leaders got in the way. It should be the desire of each true Christian to bear to Jesus all those that are physically unable to come to him on their own. Christ longs to restore them to health, if not in this life time, then when he returns in the clouds of Glory.
12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying. ‘We never saw anything like this!’”
Since the time Adam and Eve first sinned until now the world had never heard anything like the teaching of Jesus nor had seen such miracles performed. Even today 2000 years later the power of the words spoken by Christ so many years ago still has the power to change lives. But for these words to be effective, it must be accompanied by servants that are willing to lift up their fallen brother and sister, bringing them to Christ. Jesus says to all those that come in faith and sincerity, “Your Sins be forgiven you.”
Have we by faith served God as we should? Have we by faith brought our fallen brothers and sisters to Christ? Have we by faith really truly accepted that Jesus is the Messiah, who came to show us the character of God and to show us what being a servant of God is like? Or are we Scribes, Pharisees, Priest, just getting in the way of those who are bringing others to Christ?