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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today’s 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)

In today’s scripture reading, a paralyzed man is carried by his four friends to see Jesus. They arrive to find that a large crowd has formed, so the friends carry the paralyzed man to the roof of the building. There they dig a hole and lower him down so that he will be closer to Jesus.

I have to admit that I wouldn’t do that for my loved ones. Not that I am uncaring, but the likelihood of any kind of success would seem so small as to not be worthwhile. It wouldn’t be worth all that effort.

Many people would be seeking out Jesus that day. What are the chances, I would ask myself, that Jesus would choose to heal my friend? Or worse, what if Jesus failed in his attempt to heal?

Instead of schlepping to the roof of a building, I would try to find a different way of helping my friend that had a higher probability of success. Maybe a visit to a nearby hot spring or some exercises designed to strengthen the leg muscles.

In the end, however, Jesus recognizes the faith of the paralyzed man and forgives him his sins. And I find myself admiring the man and his four friends for doing exactly what I often cannot—believing that through God all things are possible.

Lord, too often we believe that we are the ones with all the answers. During this time of Lent, help us to remember that through you, the one who heals, all things are possible. Amen.

Written by Kathryn McCabe, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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