Faith that Finds a Way

Roof breaking faith. An imaginative but possible rendering of Mark 2:1-12

There was a scraping noise above, and dust fell from the ceiling. Jesus stopped midsentence and everyone looked up. Bright light streamed down from a hole in the roof. A tile had been removed and four faces appeared where it had been. The surprised crowd broke into to laughter. Jesus stared back at the four faces bemused and somewhat curious. There was more scraping and another tile came off doubling the size of the hole. Peter shot to his feet; this was his roof! But before he could do anything, the hole was filled with a dark rectangular object. A stretcher was being lowered through the roof, and a paralyzed man was on it! Some men below quickly stood and took the stretcher from the hands above. And in one quick movement the paralyzed man rested at the feet of Jesus. Peter was uncertain about how to react, and tried to read Jesus’ face. Was he irritated by the interruption? Was he concerned about the roof? No, if anything, he looked inspired. The four above and the man at his feet had demonstrated a faith that could not be hindered. They had arrived at Peter’s house in Capernaum having heard Jesus was there. They couldn’t get through the door because of the crowd standing outside and those seated on the floor within. That’s when one of the four suggested going through the roof. It was the only way; having heard that Jesus healed everyone he touched they had to get him within reach. At this point many in their position would have said ‘What if we damage the roof, interrupt Jesus, and he is not healed?’ But their belief that God was here and Jesus was good gave no place to such suggestions. And so they carried him up the outside stairs onto the flat roof and began removing the large clay tiles (For tiles see Luke 5:19).
Now everyone was focused on Jesus as the man lay before him. He smiled at the man and said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” What? Everyone looked at each other, their mouths agape. The teachers that came from synagogues all over Galilee raised their eyebrows at one another. And though no one spoke, Jesus knew their question: ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
Jesus looked at the teachers and said “Which is easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘Get up …and walk?’” Everyone knew what he meant. Nearly all first century Jews believed that conditions like illness, blindness, and paralysis were the result of sin. So if a person was forgiven their sin, healing could follow. But first century Jews also knew how forgiveness was obtained. It came from God through an animal sacrifice at the temple, not by a man standing in Peter’s house! Who did Jesus think he was? Well, they did not have to wait long to find out. Jesus continued, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins …” He turned and said the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” And it was like another person stepped into the paralyzed body, because the man immediately stood. The crowded room became silent as everyone’s minds struggled to agree with what their eyes were seeing. And while their reason was left dangling, the man walked through the bodies that had hindered his entry like a ship parting the waves. The four above ran down to meet their mobile buddy as he emerged from the door below, and that’s when the crowd erupted into whoops and shouts of praise, saying “We have never seen anything like this!” The power of God silenced all debate; questions were suspended for a less important time and place. But they were sure to come. ‘Son of Man; isn’t that Daniels words? Doesn’t the Son of Man come on the clouds of heaven and rule forever?’ This incident had pushed the crowd’s perception of Jesus to a completely new level. But somewhere in Capernaum was a man with four faithful buddies and two new legs. Their faith found a way. Is that your kind of faith?

Other Illustrations used: Archaeology – Peter’s House in Capernaum | When church chairs collapse | Forgiving the Third Party.

Closing Song: Our God – ‘Water You turned into wine, Opened the eyes of the blind – There’s no one like You’

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