Our Primary Bible text this week is from Mark 2:1-12. The same account is also found in Matt 9:2-8 and Luke 5:17-26. It is a powerful account of Jesus and His mighty power to forgive sins and heal the sick. Here is the entire passage from Mark with additions from Matthew and Luke in parenthesis:
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later (by boat), the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door.
While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child (Young Man), your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? (Who does He think He is?) This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts (why do you have evil in your hearts)?
Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers.
They were all amazed (fear swept through the crowd) and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” (and they praised God for sending a man with such great authority.)
Can you imagine being there? What stands out to you in this account of the perfect life of Jesus? The first thing that strikes me is that 'Jesus came back to Capernaum'. If you will remember, Jesus had been here before but had left. Read it here:
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:35-39 NLT)
Can you imagine how the people of Capernaum felt when He left? They had seen His power and His compassion. They wanted more of Him. Yet, Jesus knew He had other work to do as well so He went to the other towns as well.
Maybe this paralyzed man had hoped to receive healing from Jesus when He had been here first. Maybe the four men that carried Him had plans to carry Him to Jesus before He had left. I'm certain that many of the people thought 'Please come back!'. Wouldn't you?
Jesus did return to them. This reminds me of two powerful truths for us to enjoy this morning.
#1 - In Hebrews 13:5 and in Deutoronomy 31:6, God's Word says that He will never leave us or forsake us. We may not see Him with our eyes but we can trust that God is with us. You are not alone. You need not resort to your own plans. God is with us (that is the meaning of the name of Jesus - Immanuel).
#2 - Jesus will Return! I could quote dozens of examples of Jesus giving us this Good News but let's just look at this one:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)
We need not complain that Jesus is not physically here with us today. For one, we have His Holy Spirit and He said that would be better (John 14 & 15). For two, He is coming back for His Followers. Do you follow Jesus?