In the first healing story in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus healed a man of an unclean spirit within a synagogue and the people respond in amazement. In the second story, Jesus healed Simon's mother in law in a house who then served the men. In the third encounter, Jesus heals a leper that responds against Jesus' wishes (he tells!). In this healing story, Jesus heals a paralytic (with great friends!) yet the healing is not received all positively. This time the religious leaders (scribes) discuss it among themselves or as many translations say "reason in their hearts." The topic of their discussion is where Jesus' authority comes from. Instead of accounting it to God, they believe Jesus' healing and proclamation of forgiveness is tantamount to blasphemy! Instead of seeing God through the healings and proclamations, they are stuck wondering, discussing, doubting. We don't actually get their response to Jesus in this story (we will later) but we do get the response of the crowd. Yet again they were amazed and this time even glorified God! Their amazement led them to God. The religious leaders’ discussions led them to miss the very presence of God right in front of their noses. This lent, as our church is looking at "Fearless: The Courage to Question," I hope that we will be more like the crowd than the religious leaders. Though we will never have all the answers, may our questioning keep us amazed at the presence of God and what God is continuing to do, instead of letting our predetermined "box" of God get in the way.
When have you been paralyzed and had friends bring you to Jesus?
How can we allow our questions to be holy questions and conversations before God that lead to amazement and not simply be asking questions for our own satisfaction?
Why do you think the scribes thought Jesus' actions were blasphemous?
What does this passage say about Jesus authority? How is that challenging to your life?
There are many today in Japan and surrounding areas that are also exclaiming but from a different place, "We have never seen anything like this!" v. 12. How might God's presence be comforting to them? What might Jesus authority have to do with that? How can we be like the friends to the paralytic to the many who are quite literally paralyzed there?