Mark 2:1-17 records two stories about healing, sort of. In both stories, “the teachers of the law” were present and asked questions that revealed the distance between their perception of what they were seeing and their understanding of what they were seeing.

It is sad when this happens to people, but it is common. There can be a great divide between one’s perception and one’s understanding, a divide between perception and truth.

A quick look at the stories: In verses 1-12, four men carry a paralyzed man on a mat so that he can be healed by Jesus. The crowd of people seeing Jesus inside a house was so big that they couldn’t get the paralyzed man close. Therefore, they brought him up onto the roof and made a hole in the roof so they could lower the man straight to Jesus. Jesus sees the faith of these men and then says to the paralyzed man in verse 5, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Interestingly, this isn’t the heart of this story, what comes next are questions from the teachers of the law. In verse 7 they ask, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

In the next story, verses 13-17 Jesus invites the tax collector Levi (the later named apostle Matthew) to follow him, and Levi immediately got up from his tax collector booth and followed Jesus. They went to Levi’s house for dinner with Levi’s friends. While there, the teachers of the law ask Jesus’ disciples in verse 16, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

In both stories, anger accompanies the questions. If you didn’t picture anger or disgust along with those questions, read them again and imagine a kind of righteous indignation coming from the teachers of the law.

I wrote righteous indignation above in order to evoke a certain kind of feeling in your mind, but honestly, it should have been un-righteous indignation. Was Jesus blaspheming? No! Was Jesus able to forgive sins? Yes! Was Jesus wrong to eat with tax collectors and sinners? No! The problem was not in what Jesus was doing but in the minds of the teachers of the law who refused to see Jesus for who he was and what he was here to do. Jesus came, according to his words in verse 17, which is what makes the second story about healing, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What do your questions about life and the people around you reveal about your perspective? Spend some time considering the big questions you have and ask God to help reveal what those questions indicate about the way you see life, see Jesus and see his mission and your part in it today.

Pastor John Riley
Jr. High Pastor

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