1st May 2017

Faith is Foremost 

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
Mark 2:5 (NIV)

It must have caused some concern. Here was Jesus talking to a sizeable crowd gathered in a house, when suddenly a gaping hole appeared in the roof above their heads. Not only that, a paralysed man was being lowered down on a mattress (Mark 2:1-4).

The make-shift bed quickly came to a rest just in front of Jesus. The crowd looked on expectantly. What next? “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Those words, of immense relief to the man, sent shock waves through the assembled religious leaders. “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But Jesus was aware of their angry reaction. “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (verses 7–10). Jesus continued in verses 11-12, “’I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home. He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’”

That surely was an understatement. And it is a truly wonderful story, and no less brilliant for the man involved. But this is more than a touching story of healing. The man came to Jesus for healing. Doubtless he had heard of Jesus’ previous miracles and he had belief that he could experience the same blessing. All that he (and his companions) brought to the occasion was faith. Before Jesus said “your sins are forgiven,” Mark records “When Jesus saw their faith…”

Jesus didn’t discuss how many times the man visited the synagogue, how diligently he tithed—indeed any ‘physical’ deeds. Jesus saw faith, and that was enough for his sins to be forgiven. But the story doesn’t end there. Now that healing had taken place, action was needed—in this case picking up his bed and leaving.

And it’s the same for all believers. Having our sins forgiven requires faith in what Jesus has done for all mankind. No action on our part can substitute for that faith. We were ‘paralysed’ by the burden of sin and unable to live the kind of righteous existence that God intends. But once ‘healed’ in the spiritual sense, we need to take the actions that God, through Jesus Christ, commands. The man in the story was told to get up and get on with his renewed life. And that’s the same for us. Jesus is the only path to forgiveness, and his are the instructions we are to follow.

Prayer
Father, we know we can never qualify for forgiveness by our own actions. We thank you that Jesus Christ achieved what is impossible for us. In His name we thank You.
Amen

Submitted by Philip Stevens

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About the Author:
Philip Stevens attends the Great Baddow Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK (near Chelmsford).

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Great Baddow
United Reformed Church
High Street
Great Baddow
CHELMSFORD CM2 7HH

Meeting Time:
Saturday 1pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508-498165
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

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