Friday (January 12): “We never saw anything like this!”
Scripture: Mark 2:1-121 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he said to the paralytic -- 11 "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." 12 And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"Meditation: Do you know the healing power of forgiveness and compassion? Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt. Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God's redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of body, mind, and spirit. Is there any area in your life that cripples you from walking in the freedom of Christ's transforming love and forgiveness?
Bishop Ambrose of Milan (339-397 AD), an early church father, explains how the healing of the paralytic points not only to Christ's power to heal the whole person, but also to raise the body to everlasting life as well:
But the Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. He adds, "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you' or to say, 'Rise and walk?'" In this passage he shows the full likeness of the resurrection. Alongside of healing the wounds of body and mind, he also forgives the sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It is a great thing to forgive people's sins - who can forgive sins, but God alone? For God also forgives through those to whom he has given the power of forgiveness. Yet it is far more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord himself is the resurrection. (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.12 13.5)Do you believe in the healing transforming power of Christ's forgiveness and merciful love? Ask him to set you free and transform your mind and heart to be like his heart.
"Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life - my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offenses and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your love, truth, and righteousness."
1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance, 16 who exult in your name all the day, and extol your righteousness. 17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Reverse your relation with sickness, by Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD)
"Take up your bed. Carry the very mat that once carried you. Change places, so that what was the proof of your sickness may now give testimony to your soundness. Your bed of pain becomes the sign of healing, its very weight the measure of the strength that has been restored to you." (excerpt from HOMILY 50.6)
[Peter Chrysologus was a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena in the 5th century]
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.