This post is one in a series of reflections for Lent. I invite you to go back and read the previous reflections.
I apologize for not posting this yesterday. I should have had it written up ahead of time. I am going to have to get more disciplined about this.
Jesus is in a home preaching to the people. The house is filled to capacity and probably past capacity. Four men are trying to bring their friend to Jesus, but they can't get him into the home. They take him up on the roof, and dig a hole through the roof. They lower him down through the house in front of Jesus. Do we have that kind of determination to bring our friends to Jesus?
The man is lowered in front of Jesus. He is on his mat, because he can not walk. As he is laying there, he sees his largest problem as being his paralysis. His friend, that were so determined to bring him to Jesus, see his paralysis as the most important problem in his life. Jesus would beg to differ. This man is lower in front of Jesus. The Holy Son of God looks at this man. Jesus doesn't see his paralysis. Jesus sees the man as a sinner.
I am sure his friends were a little confused. When they brought their friend to Jesus, they were expecting that he would be healed. The first words that Jesus says to the man is, "My son, your sins are forgiven". I can imagine his friends on the roof scratching their heads. Jesus had come to address the man's first and most important issue first. It is important that we understand that today. Sometime we can bring all these worldly troubles to Jesus, but what if those troubles are to address our first and most important issue. Remember when James talks about our trials as building up our faith. We have trust God to address our most pressing need first, and the rest will fall into his perfect will.
There are religious leaders sitting in the back of the room. Unlike the mass, they have not come to hear the words of Jesus. They have come to find a reason to reject his teaching. We still have this sorts of people around today. Their hearts are hard and nothing will soften them, but the power of the Holy Spirit. They have found what they were looking for. Jesus has finally said something that they can attack. They question him about forgiving the man's sin. They challenge him, because only God has the power to forgive sins.
Besides addressing the mans most pressing problem first, Jesus has chosen this battle. He knew that these leaders were there to challenge his teaching. I really love the simplicity of his answer to them. He asks them, "Which is easier? To say his sins are forgiven, or to tell him to take up his mat and walk?" This is really a silly question. Of course it is so much easier to tell a person their sins are forgiven. If Jesus had told the man who his sins were forgiven, and left him on his mat then it would be questionable if his sins were forgiven. Jesus has to demonstrate his power to forgive sins. He is ready to reveal his true power. He has claimed to be the Son of Man, and now he is showing the people that he has that authority. He tells the leaders that he has the authority to forgive sins, and so he tells the man to get up and walk. You can almost see the teachers of the law standing with their jaws wide open. This had to be one of the most shocking things they have ever seen. They came to tear down Jesus, and now they have been left speechless.
Jesus is interested in addressing our first and most pressing need first. He can do amazing things for us, but our sin is his first concern. If our sin is God's first concern, then it should be our first concern. We are further taught to seek first the kingdom of God. Every other concern of our life must be placed before that of our salvation and sanctification. We should focus on God, and seek Him. Our first concern should be in this walk closer and closer to Christ-likeness, and allow secondary concerns to remain secondary.