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Mark 018 - Right Question, Wrong Conclusion



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’?


Mark 2:6-9


Important people get important people seats. Some teachers of the law were sitting right there in the front, in the prime seats. They probably didn’t get there early in order to sit up front. They used their positions of power and privilege to push others aside in order to get the best seats. They wanted to see Jesus up close and personal so they could pick over him with a fine-tooth comb, dissecting his teaching, his words, his mannerisms, even his friends.


When they were thinking to themselves, when they reasoned in their heads, they were already coming to a conclusion. We can’t help but think that their conclusion was also easily read from their tone, their faces, and their body language.


They were not the judges on “Dancing with the Stars” but people who were there in order to discredit Jesus. They were jealous of his popularity with the people.


Their observation was correct, who can forgive sins but God alone? They came to a fork in the road and went down the path that everyone from all their past experience told them. Since God alone can forgive sin, when Jesus says that sins are forgiven, he is absolutely and clearly claiming equality with God.


While sin may be damaging to others, hurting them physically, emotionally, spiritually, any and all sin is ultimately against God.


For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.


Psalm 51:3,4


When it comes to forgiveness, only the person who has been sinned against, the one who has been offended, can ultimately provide forgiveness. I cannot provide forgiveness to someone who hurt you, and the reverse is also true.


So when Jesus offers forgiveness to this paralyzed guy who just descended through the roof, using the strength of others, the meaning is crystal clear. In some way, the paralysis is a direct result of sin, and Jesus offers free and full forgiveness for that sin.


Jesus knew in his spirit that the teachers were judging him, finding him guilty of claiming equality with God. He knew this by what they said, what he experienced from their words and glaring stares.


So Jesus offers a choice for them to pick between. Two very simple and direct options; forgiving sin or healing. To be free from the weight and guilt of sin, or to be free from the weight of your own body, unable to walk. And not just to walk in a short demonstration, but to be get up and start walking, and keep on walking through a permanent cure. And the cure is so strong that this paralyzed man would not only be able to walk, but could pick up what he was being carried with and take it away on his own.


Both are equally unattainable, impossible for people to achieve.


You may find yourself at the same point. You’re on the horns of an impossible dilemma, something that cannot be fixed, something that cannot be moved. You’re being carried around by the strength of others because you have lost your way. You’ve lost your strength. You’ve lost your life.


Jesus offers an invisible restoration followed by a visible one. He does these in this order because the invisible is the most important, the most durable, the longer lasting of the two.


Jesus definitely wants to heal us internally: right here, right now. The physical healing may take place now, sometime in the future, or perhaps someplace in eternity. The guarantee is for healing, but the method and timing of it is in God’s hands.


We must believe that Dr. Jesus not only can heal but that he also has our best interests in mind. He knows what is best from a timing standpoint, from the method standpoint, and even the degree standpoint. He alone wants the best for us, our choice is to choose to trust his methods and his ways.


When we are told that “God is love” part of its deep meaning is that he wants only the best for us. He is not holding anything back, unless it is for his greater glory, our greater good, and the same for others.


We don't see the end from the beginning. We don’t even see the end from the middle, but we will see the end in the end. Our place, as a person whom he created and loves, is to wait. Wait our turn. Wait in our place and watch God work.

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