Today, please look at a familiar story with me in Mark chapter 2. This story holds some rich truths for today. But don’t stop there, for as we read and study God’s Word, ask Jesus to speak to your heart. Just as He helped this man to transcend his circumstances, He can help all of us as well.

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
–Mark 2:1-11 (NIV)

The first thing we read is that Jesus came home to Capernaum, so let’s ask ourselves about some of the implications of that. I’m sure that Jesus was tired, and as he walked into his house, he couldn’t wait to get some r and r. I like to picture Him throwing down his briefcase, while sinking down and leaning back in His La-Z-Boy. His eyes grow heavy, and gradually they shut as breathes out a contented sigh.
“That’s more like it, Pete,” He says. “Hold all of my calls. I can’t be disturbed.”
Sadly, the text tells us that Jesus’ day was nothing like that. It says that He came home to more than a packed house. In fact, the crowds overflowed. In His humanity, this must have caught Jesus by surprise, but obviously people had heard about His miracles and they wanted to see one firsthand.
To me, this story seems to portray the people’s view of Jesus as little more than a sideshow at a carnival. But instead of pandering to this mentality, He preached the Word to them.
There are two things I would like to note here which all of us need to take to heart. The first is the flexibility of the Lord. In an impromptu setting, Jesus dropped everything in order to serve others. While I still struggle with that, the little proverb which helps me most says, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.”
Secondly, Jesus didn’t bow His knee to the pressure of sensationalistic tactics, or preach what He thought the people wanted to hear. This makes me do some soul-searching, for in contrast to this attitude, I find it hard to speak the truth of God in love in some situations. I believe all of us need to ask God–who is the same yesterday, today, and forever–to fill us with the boldness that only comes from His Holy spirit when facing these situations.
But continuing on from here, we need to use our imaginations to really plumb the depths of this story. In addition to the large crowd, the animals in that culture would have been running freely in and out of the house. If you’ve ever lived in farm country, just think of the smelly cows, and if you haven’t, just think unpleasant. In any case, with no air freshener, people were probably holding their noses.
Suddenly, those who could see began to laugh as pieces of the roof fell on Jesus’ head. Don’t you think that was an attention-getter? The crowd must have been doubled over with mirth.
But the owner of the house wasn’t laughing. He got out his cell phone, threatening to call 9-1-1 if the destruction didn’t stop immediately. But before he could follow through, four men came into view.
Exhausted, panting, and wiping their faces, they lowered another man on a mat, right in front of Jesus. The property owner was paralyzed with apprehension as flash bulbs went off, and his hand began to shake.
Now, in a more serious vein, let’s examine this part of the real story more closely, and see how it relates to you and me. Mark doesn’t tell us anything about these men. But what they did for their friend speaks volumes. We can’t really appreciate their self-sacrifice, but with no AC or fans, it was a hot and dirty job that afforded these men no recognition. In fact, when they lowered their friend in front of Jesus, the people must have thought they were crazy.
In this day of individualism, we all need the support of good friends more than ever. But it is hard to find people who will support us and hold us up, especially if we are going through a loss of some kind and we just need someone to listen. That is one reason that New Vision Ministries exists.
But maybe, God is speaking to you by putting it on your heart to go to that lonely person. We can all make a difference, and God has told us to use the gifts and abilities He has given us. Sometimes, though, we all get our eyes on numbers, instead of keeping our eyes on the person who should be number 1 in our lives.
In contrast, Jesus always kept His eyes on His Father, and the size of the crowd meant nothing to Him. Because of this, He could share His love and His healing power with the paralyzed man in our story. Therefore, as Christians, I hope this story prompts us to ask if we can do any less, because Jesus tells each of us to take up our mats of complacency, and walk in His newness of life each day.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.