Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Jesus wants to heal souls and bodies
Based on the Gospel of Mark 2:1-12
News about Jesus as the miracle worker spread quickly all over the countryside of Galilee. Crowds of people surrounded Jesus wherever he went to hear him preach and hope for more miracle healings.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus is back in Capernaum at Peter’s home preaching to a large crowd of people. The place is jammed.
Along come four men carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. They can’t get in, because there are so many people crowded in and around the house.
Guess what? They go through the roof! Not giving up, they climb onto the roof of the house and make a hole in the roof through which they lower the man on the stretcher into the room where Jesus is preaching. They could do this because fishermen’s houses in Capernaum were stone dwellings with roofs made from sticks and branches plastered with thick, muddy clay, and each house had an outside stairway leading to the roof. Grass often grew from the packed clay on the roof.
The men believe Jesus can cure their friend. Jesus rewards them for their love and faith by saying to the paralyzed man, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” By saying this, Jesus is showing who he really is – the Son of God. The religious authorities are furious. They say, “He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” But, this is exactly who Jesus is. Jesus came to bring every member of the human race back to God, and to do it at the cost of his own life. Jesus’ love is so deep and strong that each of us is recognized as his own son or daughter.
Jesus wants to heal souls and bodies. He not only heals the man’s soul by forgiving his sins, he also heals the man’s body when he says, “… Rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” The people are amazed and praise God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
The man who was paralyzed got more than he bargained for. Before his healing, he was so paralyzed that four men had to carry him on a stretcher. After his healing, he could walk right out of the house on his own without any help. But, notice that before Jesus healed the man’s body, he healed the man’s soul by forgiving his sins. The man now had the joy and peace that comes with forgiveness. The man walked out of the house joyful, healthy and strong – in body and soul.
Lord Jesus, as your children, we rejoice in your love and mercy. Forgive us our sins and help us to forgive others.