Journeying with Mark – Week 4

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[Continuing the year-long series Journeying in the Gospel of Mark]

Mark 2:1-12

The story of Jesus healing the paralytic lowered through the roof by four friends is a favorite for many Christians. There is audacity, courage, loyalty, the destruction of property, and reward for effort. However, there is also a moment of modern perplexity.

When the man is dropped down through the roof, Jesus’ first words are: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Can you imagine it? The friends bring the paralytic to Jesus for him to be healed, not to have his sins forgiven. Truth be told, I would be put off if my doctor made such an announcement, because this conflates arenas of life our rational minds separate – we’ve learned fixed boundaries between mind, body, and soul. Therefore, it is understandable that we might be uncomfortable with the worldview of scripture, which supposes a direct connection between sin and sickness, and in this account, paralysis is treated as a result of sin. To forgive sin is the remove the consequence – the paralysis.[1]

I find it important to note, Mark is not interested in explaining why bad things happen to good people, or how sin could lead to such severe consequence. Rather, the gospel author sets ink to page to emphasize and illustrate the power of faith.

“When Jesus saw their faith…”

Digging through a roof and lowering their friend down is a silent but dramatic act of faith. Jesus recognizes the tenacious love and devotion displayed by these friends. They go to so much trouble! Jesus sees faith in action.

So too it is with you and me. We can and we do affirm many things by the decisions and behaviors of life. From our care for creation to our love of neighbor, from our commitment to world peace to our religious devotion, our actions are a more accurate confession of faith than any high, lofty words we might utter.

This is why self-knowledge and awareness are key to Christian discipleship, and this is the impetus behind my invitation this week: please, I invite you to join me in carving out time for silent contemplation; ask God to reveal the true faith of your conscious and subconscious activity.

May Jesus help us see our faith. Amen.

[1] David Garland. The NIV Application Commentary: Mark. (Zondervan, 1996) pg. 97.

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