Today we join Jesus as He comes back to His new hometown, Capernaum. Unlike Nazareth, His original hometown, Capernaum is MORE than willing to accept His works and listen to His teachings. They are so ready to accept His teachings that they filled the house where He was at to capacity and beyond.
I was doing a little research to see what the homes of Jesus’ time looked like. There were a few sites I came across after Googling my question. One I found interesting was Farrell’s Travel Blog. Because the author claims to have been conducting tours of the region we are studying, I think he might have an idea about the house where Jesus was teaching. Another blog I found that talks about the typical construction of homes in the time of Jesus is Community in Mission. They make some claims here that I don’t think they can substantiate, but their information about home construction seems to agree with other sites I have come across. Feel free to take what you want from both, or neither.
I’m assuming the home Jesus was in that day was of the one room construction style, because if He were in an open courtyard there would have been no reason for the men to have torn away some of the roof. I imagine the room had people standing in every available inch. Were some sitting on furniture? Were people sitting on the floor too? I’m wondering if the people were “comfortably crowded” or “packed in like cattle.” Also, how long was Jesus teaching in the house before the roof began to move?
Jesus has just come back to Capernaum after being on the missionary trail for some time. Mark says they were back “after some days.” I’m not sure how to measure that on a calendar. The friends of this paralyzed man were anxious to get him to Jesus. Were they afraid that if they missed Him this time they would not get another chance? Were they afraid Jesus would stop healing at some point in the lineup of people and their friend would be left out? Were they one of the people gathered outside Peter’s house the morning after the big healing service? Or were they acting in haste because this was the only time they could all get together to deal with their friend’s needs?
The man and his friends didn’t arrive at the home until well into Jesus’ teaching. If they had been early, maybe they would have gotten in. It might have been problematic, even if they were early, trying to find a place to lay their friend out so he wouldn’t be trampled and made worse while waiting for his healing.
This group was not willing to wait around until Jesus finished teaching to approach Him for healing. Was this impatience or desperation? Who was the one urging on the group to get to Jesus NOW? Unwilling to wait and blocked at every regular avenue, our crew decides to do something unexpected.
Were people standing around the outside of the house listening through the windows too? What did they think about the men climbing the stairs, or ladder, up to the roof? Were there people on the roof listening too? Did any of the other spectators offer to help or try to stop them? Or was everyone simply watching and wondering what they were up to? I wonder how long it took them to break through the roof. What kind of tools did they have to use? Did Jesus and the people in the house stop and stare as bits of debris came down from the ceiling? How did the jam packed crowd make room for the man coming down through the roof? I’m imagining there was some space around Jesus while He was talking, so that’s probably how they were able to get him to the ground.
When our paralyzed friend is finally before Jesus, the strangest thing happens. Jesus forgives him of his sins. This brought a question to his mind as well as the scribes’ that were sitting nearby. The reason I say this is that the man didn’t get up when Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. He waited for the command, “take up your bed and walk” to be spoken before he moved.
In Jewish society it was believed that sin is what caused your illnesses, calamities, and even barrenness. We don’t know how or when this man became paralyzed, but he probably associated his infirmity with some sin in his life. He hadn’t come to Jesus though to confess his sins. Had he gone to the priests to confess his sin when it happened? If he did, did he still feel the weight of that sin and feel it was the reason he wasn’t being healed?
Jesus’ statement apparently connected the man’s sin with his illness. But were Jesus’ words to him a confirmation of his earlier repentance being honored by God, or a current washing away of his sins? Had he been denying the connection between his sin and his condition? Whether past or present forgiveness, our man didn’t immediately jump up. He waited until Jesus finished His discussion with the scribe and spoke to him again. What was the man thinking and doing while he waited? Did his healing manifest at Jesus’ first words to him, “Your sins are forgiven”, or wait until He told him to take up his bed and walk? (This is going to be one of my “bench” discussions when I get to Heaven.)
The scribes had something else going on in their minds. They didn’t care about the man’s sins and where his heart stood, they cared about Jesus asserting authority only God had. The priests had been extending forgiveness to the people when they brought sacrifices for centuries. Now Jesus was cutting out the “middle man.” Jesus said what He did in the presence of the scribe, who took notes on EVERYTHING, so that ALL would know His connection to the Father. He also made sure to follow up His authority with tangible proof. Anyone can say, “Your sins are forgiven” but what proof could they offer to verify it? Jesus verified it through the complete healing of the man.
As soon as Jesus finished His next words to our man, he immediately got up and did as instructed. Did the crowd part to let him through, or did everyone want to talk to him on his way out? Did the man go straight home, thinking that he didn’t want to sin again by not obeying Jesus, or did he stop and tell everyone he met on the way about what happened?
Everyone in the room recognized the miracle! The healing AND the forgiveness of sin. “Nothing like this has ever happened before!” They also gave credit where it belonged; to God. This group was sure to spread the word about what happened that day, even if the man didn’t. Jesus’ Capernaum following just got bigger!
Father God, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You too that not everything bad that happens is connected to my sins. If everything that happened to me was linked with my sinning or not sinning, I would have a LOT more disaster in my life than I do. I would not be able to earn my way out of the “dog house.” I’m sure I would always do something to get my sentence extended as I got near my “parole date.”
I know that I do suffer some of the consequences for my sins. Even there though, You have reduced those in my life. My eating disorder behaviors should have netted me at least some long term health effects, but You protected me from them. On the other hand, my vision issues that I have had since birth, didn’t result from some sin I had committed. I have prayed for years for both of these issues to be removed from my life. You have worked wonders in both areas but neither are completely resolved. I fully believe that the sins surrounding the first issue have been forgiven (past, present and future).
My husband suffers from severe pain, brought on by brain surgery to remove a brain tumor. Is it possible that the first issue was brought about because of sin? I don’t know for sure, but I don’t believe You works that way. I DO know that whatever sin may have been involved, You have already forgiven him of it. But why does he continue to suffer then? Are You using his condition to reach others with a message, like You did with the man from our story that day? I trust You to bring about Your perfect plan in all that he is going through, but we REALLY would like to hear You say, “Take up your bed and walk.” He is desperate too! Until then, keep him in Your arms and fill him with the warmth of Your love. “My grace is sufficient.” Thank You for that promise too.