Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Read Mark 2:1-12

The Gospel story takes us to Capernaum today, an important location central to the ministry of Jesus in His early ministry. He had done a few miracles here and some preaching. He had attained a reputation and people were crowding around him and bringing him their sick.

So it was with these four men. The fifth man, the Paralytic, is known by no other name. We are not told how long he had suffered from his paralysis, or why. The text isn’t even clear if the four men are his friends. Perhaps the paralytic man was wealthy and was paying to be brought to Jesus, or maybe the four owed him a favor. We aren’t told how old he is, or if he even wanted to be healed. In fact, the paralytic says nothing throughout the entire text. On the other hand, Jesus sees the faith of the four men, bringing the paralytic to Him, bringing him down even through the roof of the house.

But you might note that Jesus does a strange thing. Jesus does not immediately heal the man, but forgives his sin. Though this causes some of the teachers of the Law to be offended, I don’t think that was entirely Jesus’ purpose. Jesus no doubt knew the man’s heart, far better than we do, and saw in him not his physical problem, but a spiritual one. Jesus knew the man’s greater problem was not his paralysis, but his sinful heart.

Coming to the hospital seeking treatment is not always as simple as it appears. Sometimes the problems you are suffering from are straightforward, requiring an antibiotic or a surgery. But sometimes the pain runs much deeper, the treatment more involved, and like the paralytic, isn’t just a physical problem. Like physical injuries, spiritual injuries require attention too.

A spiritual injury can break a heart, break relationships, even husbands and wives, parents and children. A spiritual injury can become bitterness and resentment, and inability to be close to someone, or a loss of faith in one’s church or religion. Spiritual injuries manifest in a number of ways, and they can even feel like physical pain. Before healing can begin, sometimes it needs to begin in the spirit. Sometimes it even starts with forgiveness.

Jesus could see in the man’s heart, in a way that no others could. Where others saw the paralysis, Jesus saw the broken man. Before he would heal the body, He began by healing the man’s soul.

You may find yourself in a similar circumstance today. You may be here today because four men brought you. You may have a very obvious physical need. But the Lord sees your heart. He knows your suffering, and the Lord extends His hand to you today. He offers you healing, of your heart and soul, if you would accept it.

Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

I thank you that today my physical needs are being addressed by people trained, educated, and blessed in wise medical counsel. But now Lord, I seek treatment of a different sort, the treatment of my soul. Father, if there is sin in me, I ask for forgiveness. If there is brokenness in me, I ask for restoration. If there is confusion in me, I ask for wisdom. Help me Lord to see my path and seek wise counsel.

For all these things I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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