HEALING DRIVEN BY FORGIVENESS
"And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Mark 2:4-5 (KJV)
From the very first verse of the chapter, it was evident that Jesus lived in Capernaum. The Bible says:
"And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house." Mark 2:1 (KJV)
When the people heard that Jesus had returned home after a long while, they resorted to His house. It is interesting to note that Jesus had no meeting place in Capernaum apart from His personal room. There is no record to show that He built a house or not. Nevertheless, the way this Scripture is written and the way people resorted to Him there, shows that it cannot be a small room or a small house. I guess Jesus envisaged this sort of situation and had a roomy place to Himself. I should take a cue from that.
Meanwhile, while at home, so many people came to Him to the point that there was no space for anyone again, even unto the door. I need God's help for me to be this influential in my area, such that once people know that I am around, they will come to hear God's Word in and from my mouth. Jesus did not waste that opportunity of preaching the Word of God unto the people. The Bible says, “and he preached the word unto them.”
However, while He was preaching to these people, there were these friends, who had a sick friend. They were not interested in the preaching of Jesus but in His healing for their sick friend. Unfortunately, for them, there was no space to approach Jesus. Those who were ahead of them did not give them access to Jesus. Could this be happening today also? Are you blocking someone from accessing Jesus? So, the only option they thought they had was to damage the roof of the house, to let down their sick friend, so that he could have access to Jesus.
I really do not know why they took such decision; but, no doubt, these men were desperate! These men knew that if they missed that opportunity, they might not be able to get it back in good time. They knew that if Jesus should leave that vicinity, they did not know if their friend would survive before Jesus would come around again. Hence, to them, it must be then or never!
The Bible says, "they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up..." This report shows that these people removed the iron sheet on the roof and broke the ceiling for them to let down the sick man (Luke 5:19). That was a grave offence.
By all indications, this house was not made of a thatched roof and it was not someone else's house; it was Jesus'!
They uncovered the roof and broke the ceiling; for what? Should they damage the house of Jesus just for them to get His help? How can someone need my help and yet be damaging me? How can someone injure me because he wants a cure from me? Amazingly. Jesus did not see the damage, He only saw their damage to unbelief- He saw their faith!
It is obvious that I need God's help for my heart that does not see and respond correctly to situations. Jesus did not see the damage done by these men, what He saw was their faith. Moreover, the first thing that came out of His mouth to the palsied man was: "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
First, I was tempted to think before now that the sins Jesus meant here were the sins he committed, which brought paralysis into his life. Yes, that may be correct! But I am seeing 'sins', which may also include the one he freshly committed, alongside with his friends, by damaging the house of Jesus.
Could there be those who are damaging the house of Jesus in their desperation? They complain bitterly and run the man of God down. They could see the damage but they thought that is the only way they could get his attention? Yes, there are! They are many, who believe in causing trouble to get attention. There are people who believe in throwing tantrums for them to get favour!
Jesus, give me therefore Thy heart, this work will be too dangerous for a man without Thy heart. Why should a man run me down, just because he could not get my attention or assistance in good time? Even if I know why, how does that concern me? What concerns me is the willingness and readiness of Jesus to forgive!
Those who were there that day also felt that it was difficult for man to forgive sins and, especially, this willful sin that these people had committed against Jesus! I am thinking that these people felt that they would not have prescribed forgiveness for this man, were they the ones whose house was so damaged.
However, I need to note what Jesus said here properly, lest I make another mistake. What He said was "thy sins be forgiven thee". This means that, let what you have done not be counted against you. This looks close to the prayer He prayed for those who crucified Him, when He said; "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." It means that Jesus did not count their action as constituting a sin, though it was not good at all; He intervened and asked that the man should not be charged for this sin!
When people murmured against Him, then He decided to show them that what He said was not just from His lips, but from His heart. Therefore, He said:
"...Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." Mark 2:8-12 (KJV)
Whereas this miracle is to be celebrated, but the lessons here for me are enormous and weighty.
First, Jesus wondered at which one is easier to say thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? It appears Jesus is saying, to forgive or to heal is a matter of saying it! This, to me, is very striking. That there is not much ceremony to the issue of forgiving a man. All I need is just to say it (and mean it in my heart). The palsied man here had not even confessed or acknowledged his sins, yet Jesus offered him forgiveness, just by saying it.
There is no need for people gather to beg me, before I could forgive whoever has offended me. There is no need for the person who offended me to come and be begging, and cause a scene before I forgive him/her. Offering forgiveness should not attract any ceremony; it should be as simple (and as casual) as possible. Jesus did not need all that to be motivated in order to forgive.
The Pharisees or those who complained about the simplicity of forgiving sins, as introduced by Jesus, might be used to the fact that even for God to listen to a man who had committed sin, such an offender must bring all sort of animals to appease God. Even at that, it takes God to forgive such a person. These people saw God from a very wrong perspective. Therefore, they too must have developed an attitude that made it difficult for those who offended them. Nevertheless, Jesus said it is just to say it, and it is done! Stephen also said it, and it was done! If I say it, it will be done.
The second issue is that even for the healing of the palsied man, it is simply to say it; it cannot be more than that. I may think there are some sicknesses that require some special prayers before they could be cured. But here, Jesus teaches me that all I need to do is simply to say. And that it is even easier to say you are healed, than to say you are forgiven!
Jesus said, so that they may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, He said to the palsied man, Arise, and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house. That means I, as a son of man, also have power on earth to forgive sins. To proof to the people that forgiving the palsied man was from his heart, He also said to him, arise and take up thy bed and go home (without repairing the damaged roof)! Increase my faith!
It dawned on me now that the reason we do not see so much healing in our days is the dwindling willingness to forgive sins! Every man who forgives, has power to heal! I do not need any special anointing to heal. Once there is no one in my heart that I have not forgiven, then there will be no sickness that will not give heed to me. Ability to forgive is a precursor to carrying the anointing to heal.
(Segun Ariyo, Ibadan. 31st January, 2015.)