Mark 2:1-12 was a common Jesus story I heard growing up. It's a fairly unique visual of a sick man being lowered down through a roof. It reminds me of what great lengths many people will do to get close to those they revere. But the emphasis is not on the friends as much as on Jesus and the scribes. The scribes did not understand how Jesus could forgive sins. This was a priestly function with God, and here was this new Jesus teacher telling the sick their sins were forgiven. The Jews, as well as other cultures at the time, often understand sickness and physical deformities as signs of sin. They spent an awful lot of energy seeking to make things right with God for sins. For Jesus to simply forgive a sick man was considered blasphemy - only God could forgive sins. However, Jesus was not trying to put himself in the place of God (many times he claims to be a son of God, but not take the place of God). Instead he was acknowledging that sin does not make one sick. Of course sins can lead to sickness (for example pollution, diet, etc.), but the larger emphasis is not on finding the source of guilt, but the source of healing. Jesus was focused primarily on healing the sick man's view of himself and his relationships with those around him. When it is obvious that the scribes will not accept Jesus' words of forgiveness and act of reconciliation, then he also heals the man and asks which is easier - to heal or to forgive.
When I was growing up I often thought the message was that healing is more difficult, and therefore proved that Jesus was some form of God. That might still be the key piece of this passage in Mark. However, at this stage of my life I am starting to wonder if forgiveness and reconciliation are more difficult to achieve.
Children can follow along in Shine 192, and Spark can choose a similar story of healing from 254 or 256.
Daily Prayers to recite, remember and live by:
Lords Prayer (198 in Shine On, 278 in Spark)
Psalm 23 (129 in Shine On, 160 in Spark)
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.