Friday, February 22, 2013

Lent: Paralytic lowered through the roof

Mark 2:1-12
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Jesus' first concern was for the paralytic's spiritual health. Here is a man in obvious need physically; he cannot bring himself to be healed or probably do much of anything at all. Yet Jesus seems ready to ignore his physical challenges for the much greater danger he is in internally. Nor does the man himself seem to be one of those upset by Jesus' declaration of forgiveness. The decision to heal the man comes as a sign to the grumbling scribes rather than to the paralytic, whose greatest need was for forgiveness, or to the four men who lowered him through the roof, whose faith encouraged Jesus to declare that forgiveness.
We can't see the expression on the paralytic's face. We don't know how he spent the rest of his life or how his four friends spent theirs. But an interaction with Jesus, which probably took no more than fifteen minutes, transformed him entirely from the inside out. First his sins were forgiven, restoring his relationship with his Creator. Then his body was healed, changing him from a person who couldn't do anything for himself to a man who immediately stands, carries his mat, and walks home without difficulty. In what ways are you paralyzed? Are there sins you need forgiveness for? Are there fears preventing you from obeying the Lord's commands? Are there physical limitations which you would like healed? Jesus can, and does, look beyond the obvious needs to address the most important needs. And whether or not he also fixes the obvious ones, we are always transformed when we encounter Him and allow Him to change the brokenness into wholeness.

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