‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven”.’ – Mark 2.5From Sam Lomas:
The verse above comes towards the start of Mark’s account of Jesus’ ministry. You can read the full story here Mark 2.1-12. In our present circumstances, it can be easy to let the focus of our struggles be the way in which Covid-19 has paralysed our communities, our workplaces, our families, our day to day lives.
This week, the story of Jesus forgiving a paralysed man’s sin before healing his body has taught me a valuable lesson.
It can be easy to let our focus be drawn to the struggles that have been caused by Covid-19. But imagine for a moment that some friends have come to you in the midst of this lockdown with a mission. They tell you that there is somebody that can set you free from lockdown and the challenges that come with it. You go with them, not because you believe them, but because they don’t take no for an answer. Their faith is stronger than yours.
Your friends bring you to a man named Jesus. Jesus takes one look at you. He can see you are struggling with lockdown and that it’s taken its toll on you. You begin to wonder whether this man can set you free from the grip of lockdown. But instead of addressing the challenge of lockdown, Jesus looks you in the eye and says, “Your sins are forgiven”.
“Oh … thanks?” you might think.
It’s important to understand that Jesus isn’t making a mistake in addressing the issue of sin over a physical issue. Here are two lessons I have come to understand this week after reading this passage:
Jesus knows best.
- Jesus’ perspective on suffering is far greater than ours. Jesus knows that the primary struggle we have in this life is not our physical suffering, but our spiritual state! By forgiving the man of his sin before healing his body, Jesus is drawing our attention to the greatest need we have. Our need to be made right with God is far more important than any physical challenge we face.
Jesus can heal through intimacy.
- Jesus’ words are an invitation to ‘go deeper’. To look beyond the immediacy of our struggles and fix our eyes on the One who has dealt with our primary issue – our sinful hearts. As my focus is drawn to Jesus and I ‘go deeper’, I have found that the frustrations and negativity relating to the physical challenges of this lockdown begin to change. My physical struggles decrease as His peace fills me and I lean on Him for direction.
Today, say a prayer of thanks to Jesus for dealing with our primary problem. Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you fix your eyes on Jesus rather than your struggles. See how Jesus heals through intimacy.