Mark 2:10 “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
The paralytic surely felt helpless. He needed four men to carry him to Jesus. He couldn’t get there on his own. Then they found the house jammed full. Nobody would step aside to let him get close to the famous Rabbi. So he watched, perhaps with considerable apprehension, as his buddies dug a whole in the roof — a stranger’s home in all likelihood — and began to lower him through it.
The crowd must have stared in some disbelief. The audacity of the guy! Not to mention the mess he and his friends had created! And, of course, the great risk that he might just fall off his stretcher from some height and land right on the Teacher.
In Jewish theodicy, people assumed that suffering meant punishment for some sin. Bad things happened, mostly, to bad people. God afflicted the wicked for their evil ways. Simple cause and effect; though sometimes the cause might be hard to identify (see John 9:2).
Perhaps for years, even his whole life, this paralytic had wondered about his sin. Perhaps he was clueless; perhaps he knew it well. But everyone knew that healing would require forgiveness. The deepest healing usually does.
The longing for forgiveness will drive us to considerable lengths at times. Guilt and shame crush our spirits. Guilt for what we’ve done; shame for what we’ve become. It paralyzes us. And only grace and forgiveness can renew and restore us.
What solace — what hope! — we find in the divine pardon. It heals us in the most profound ways. Like the paralytic so long ago, those who are laid low are raised by the hand (the hand of Christ) to new life.
If you need such deep healing this Lent, may it begin today. The room may seem crowded with the broken and the desperate, but He will notice you. Just reach out.