I said that I’d occasionally put up bits of a sermon. And here is my first.
I explored Mark 2:1-12 on Sunday. Take a read.
I noted that Jesus does not deny this man’s ‘felt need’ [to walk], but he does not restrict him to his ‘felt need’ either [he needs his sins forgiven]. There was obviously more that I said than that, for the story is ultimately a conflict story leading to two opposing groups plotting this Son of Man's death in Mark 3:6. But here is a part of the talk:
“Question! Which one of these two statements is easier to say to a man in a wheelchair? Is it easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘stand up, fold your wheelchair, and walk out this door?’
What a Question!
Both are tantalising possibilities.
Both are potentially cruel.
Both are risky things to do and say.
One seems presumptuous, the other preposterous.
Actually, they both seem presumptuous and preposterous.
But if either could happen, it would be a beautiful miracle.
So what’s the answer?
- It could be: Neither is easier [and neither is harder]: In fact you could say both very easily. I said it just now when I read it. I did not find either particularly difficult to say.
- It could be: Saying “your sins are forgiven” is much easier because no one can know right then if it has or has not been achieved - whereas everyone will know you are a fake within seconds if the man is not healed. More seems at stake saying to a paralytic, ‘stand up’.
- It could be: Both are impossible to do. In fact, on your own, you have as much chance of being forgiven as a paralytic does in walking out the door that day.
While you are battling with your head to answer the question, Jesus undercuts all your brain power with an astonishing display of grace and power:
10 But so 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, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’
However you answered his question, Jesus is powerfully and graciously demonstrating: I can do both.”