Note to readers: During Lent Resurrection joins over 140 other congregations in Kansas City and others in Hong Kong and Ghana in reading the entire gospel of Mark.
To watch a video that covers today’s Mark passage, click here.
1 After a few days, Jesus went back to Capernaum, and people heard that he was at home. 2 So many gathered that there was no longer space, not even near the door. Jesus was speaking the word to them. 3 Some people arrived, and four of them were bringing to him a man who was paralyzed. 4 They couldn’t carry him through the crowd, so they tore off part of the roof above where Jesus was. When they had made an opening, they lowered the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven!”
6 Some legal experts were sitting there, muttering among themselves, 7 “Why does he speak this way? He’s insulting God. Only the one God can forgive sins.”
8 Jesus immediately recognized what they were discussing, and he said to them, “Why do you fill your minds with these questions? 9 Which is easier—to say to a paralyzed person, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk’? 10 But so you will know that the Human One [or Son of Man] has authority on the earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, 11 “Get up, take your mat, and go home.”
12 Jesus raised him up, and right away he picked up his mat and walked out in front of everybody. They were all amazed and praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”
Archeology in Capernaum has showed that some “living rooms” could hold up to 50 people. Four men tried to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus on a stretcher, but the room was full. They got creative! Most houses then had a roof of branches or rushes laid over beams, then covered with dried mud—and an outer staircase to the roof. Aha! They climbed up, dug through the roof and lowered their friend to Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you for caring about the well-being of both my body and my inner self. Help me to live each day in the beautiful reality of your forgiving, restoring grace. Amen.
When I think of the term “stretcher bearers,” certain instances and people come to mind. I think of friends who will drop everything to be here when I need them. I think of those who say, “call me anytime day and night” and mean it. I think of those who have shown us love in our darkest moments by bringing us food, doing our shopping, or sending us notes of encouragement. I have been blessed beyond measure by the wonderful stretcher bearers in my life.
And I also think of the times when I’ve been privileged enough to be that stretcher bearer for others. I’ve been able to grieve with friends, to care for them, to support them, encourage them, and to show them God’s love in tangible ways.
The Scripture tells of how the original stretcher bearers carried their paralyzed friend through a crowd to the roof of a house and lowered him down to Jesus. Obviously, the act of doing so brought the paralyzed man closer to Christ, but what I find interesting is that those who were bringing their friend found themselves closer to Jesus as well. In both the act of being brought and of bringing, all were moved toward Jesus.
I think the same applies today. There are times when we can’t do it on our own, and we need others to carry us. Then there are times when we come alongside others and carry them. What we mustn’t forget is that instances such as these are holy moments, moving us closer to the ultimate healer and redeemer.
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