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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 2:1–12

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (NRSV)

“Four of them were bringing to him a man who was paralyzed . . .”

Crowds everywhere, a frenzied atmosphere to hear Jesus or simply catch a glimpse of him. There are four people determined that their paralyzed friend meets Jesus. They didn’t have an invite from the host and couldn’t navigate through the crowd. To meet Jesus, they cut a hole in the roof and somehow shimmied a paralyzed man up on the roof and then down into the house. Think of the commitment of these people or the desperation of this gambit.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed friend, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Have your spirits or fortunes been lifted by friends or loved ones? Can you think of a time when you had given up on yourself but the faith of others in you and your talents pulled you through to a place you could have never imagined?

The friends in the story are not perfect—maybe they are reflecting on the holes in their lives or the ones they could have cut for others but didn’t—and now they will not let this moment pass for their friend.

The forgiveness and healing Jesus offers is expansive for all of us with faith.

Dear gracious Lord, open our hearts to your healing and forgiveness. Help us cut holes to help those in our lives who do not see their immense talents and gifts. We are grateful for all our friends and loved ones who were champions for us when our faith was brittle. Help us accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness and extend that grace to our neighbors. Amen.

Written by Ranjan Daniels, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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