Markby Robert M. Solomon
Jesus was like a brilliant bolt of lightning that illuminates the night sky, except that He was not just a momentary flash, but a brilliant beacon of light. Such were His amazing acts, that it is understandable why people remarked with great wonder, ″We have never seen anything like this!″ (Mark 2:12).
A man with leprosy (a most terrible disease in the ancient world) humbly approached Jesus on his knees for help. He showed great faith when he said: ″If you are willing, you can make me clean″ (Mark 1:40). Jesus replied that He was willing and commanded, ″Be clean!″ (1:41).
The man did not doubt Jesus' ability to heal, but was unsure if He was willing to do so. Jesus had both power and love, for He was ″moved with pity″ (Mark 1:41, ESV) and touched the man, something no other person would do for fear of becoming infected.
Jesus warned him not to tell others about the miracle, but the man could not keep such news to himself. As a result, Jesus became so popular that He could ″no longer enter a town openly″ (1:45). Throughout his writing, Mark consistently shows that Jesus did not want fame as a healer to become a hindrance to His ministry of teaching (cf. 2:2).
Jesus returned to Capernaum and healed a paralysed man (Mark 2:1-12), who somehow must have missed the great healings that had taken place there recently (1:32-34). Unable to walk, he was carried in by some concerned men (friends, relatives, or neighbours). This time the poor man found the crowd to be an added obstacle, but his plucky friends opened up the roof and let him down in front of Jesus, who saw their faith and healed the man (2:5). Unlike the leper, faith was found in those who carried the sick man.
Initially Jesus told the paralysed man, ″Son, your sins are forgiven″ (Mark 2:5) which made the teachers of the law condemn Jesus in their hearts as a blasphemer-for only God had that authority (2:6-7). Jesus asked them which would be easier: to heal the man or to declare his sins forgiven (2:9). They knew that the act would be more difficult than the words. Jesus then declared that He had authority to forgive sins (an invisible reality) and proved it with a visibly powerful healing (2:10-12).
Does one need to have faith to be healed? Which is actually easier-to declare forgiveness or to heal? What do these stories of healing tell you about Jesus?
Reflect on what Jesus is doing in your life. Are you astounded? Are you telling others about it? Is there a friend you need to bring to Jesus?