Text: Mark 2:1-28, Mark 3:1-35, Hebrews 2:11-12
I’m a fan of doctors, of their life-saving work. I’m not a fan of being the patient.
I can always find a reason to avoid a visit. I’ll let an ailment linger for days, aiming to kick it with a home remedy or just some good ol’ fashioned pain tolerance. But a couple years ago, while living in downtown Manhattan, I couldn’t shake or will away an overwhelming, inexplicable illness. After writhing in pain for three days straight, common sense kicked in; I hailed a cab at midnight and headed to urgent care.
Desperation will do this, when denial inevitably falls short.
They gave me something to ease the immediate pain, and insisted I visit my primary care physician the next morning. We ran labs for three days and found that all my levels were off. I could barely walk, barely eat. I was coming off a season of constant adrenaline, and when the pace finally slowed, my body followed suit. I learned the hard way that forty years old is not equal to twenty. My top priority would become rest in order to give my body the healing it required.
When I read the story of the paralytic in Mark, I’m struck by the desperation of his friends to see him healed. Perhaps he had suffered a lifetime of loss and missed opportunity. And since there was no taxi to be found at midnight, they simply needed to find a way to get him in front of the Great Physician.
There’s a crowd in the way? No matter. There’s a roof in the way? No matter. Nothing deterred them from getting the help they were seeking. Their faith in Jesus’ power to heal enabled them to break through any barrier—literally.
Their tenacity moved Jesus. Scripture says when He saw their persistent faith, He uttered, “Son, your sins are forgiven!” (Mark 2:5). Jesus started with the inner healing of the heart, but didn’t stop there. He then commanded the man to get up and walk so the resistant religious leaders could see He had the authority of God to not only heal bodies, but also to forgive sins.
We want the external; Jesus goes after the internal.
We want what is seen; Jesus goes after what is unseen.
Did He want the man to walk? Absolutely. Did He go after the healing of his heart? Fundamentally.
The nature of Jesus never changes. He always heals, always redeems, always restores. Our role is to come. When we reach our moment of desperate brokenness, no longer denying our sickness of heart and mind, we will do whatever it takes to get well. There we will behold His face, hear His voice, and receive His healing touch.
That’s the gospel, simple and plain. Jesus said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
I want to be among the ones who know they are sinners—broken, weary, in desperate need of a Savior. I want to experience a break-through-the-rooftop kind of healing. I pray the Holy Spirit will convict me, moment by moment, again and again. His conviction is a grace, a kindness, and a revelation that all is not well. But the healing we need is found in the forgiveness of our Savior, Jesus.