Your Sins are Forgiven | Mark 2

Welcome to Real Life. What do I really need? I want God to bless me with strength, health, and enough money to make me happy today. While, he is focused on my long-term needs.

After people heard of Jesus’ miraculous healings, crowds hounded him everywhere. In Capernaum, he was teaching in a home. So many gathered; the crowd overflowed outside of the door. Four men arrived carrying their paralyzed friend. Seeing the wall of people and determined to reach Jesus, they dug through the flat, clay roof. Then, they lowered their friend into the room where Jesus stood.

Seeing this, Jesus was amazed by their faith. “Son, your sins are forgiven,” he told the paralyzed man.

A few teachers of the law were present. “This man is blaspheming. Who can forgive sin but God?” they thought to themselves. These experts in the law clearly recognized Jesus’ claim to divinity. Only God can forgive sin.

And only God can hear unspoken thoughts. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said,
“Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Mark 2:8-11 (NIV)
Before their eyes, the paralytic rose, picked up his mat, and walked out. Now, everyone was amazed. “We have never seen anything like this!” The crowd was amazed by the healing. Jesus was amazed by the faith of these determined men.

How determined is my faith? Do I persist in prayer, undeterred by obstacles, until I enter the Lord’s presence and my soul is healed?

Why don’t we see more physical healings today? My dear mother-in-law Lillian died in May. Seven years ago, a powerful stroke left her paralyzed and bedridden. We prayed and fasted, pleading with God to heal her. But he did not. She remained paralyzed. Today, Lillian stands completely healed in God’s presence. Yet, her years of suffering still evoke sadness and disappointment in me. Why didn't you heal her, Lord, like you healed this young man?

I don’t know the answer. However, I believe it lies in Jesus’ initial response to the paralytic. “Son, your sins are forgiven.” The young man’s greatest need was not physical healing. It was soul healing. He needed forgiveness. He needed to be restored to a right relationship with God. He needed eternal life.

Our greatest need is not physical healing. That’s a temporary fix at best. Each of our bodies will break down and die. Even the paralytic healed by Jesus eventually died.

As my son Calvin and I approached Lillian’s casket and viewed her body, I said, “She looks so beautiful, almost as if she weren't sick anymore.”

“Mom, she’s not sick anymore,” Cal replied. 

The truth and beauty and hope embodied in his words always bring me to tears. My dear mother-in-law was forgiven. Her soul was healed. She is not sick anymore! Today, Mom stands alive and whole in the Kingdom of God. And, one day, I will see her there! God met her greatest need.

Thank you, dear Lord, for healing Mom’s soul.


  1. This comment was sent to me via email by a friend who had trouble posting it here:

    You have a knack for getting the tears to come. God knows that answering prayers for physical healing doesn't bring long-term dependence on him, only momentary celebration. He knows it doesn't build faith and love. Yancey writes that perhaps most of God's work today is done by His believers through the power of the Holy Spirit and I don't disagree. I used to feel like God didn't answer my prayers because I was undeserving but I've grown up some and I am content with His answers. In fact, I mostly just pray for His will. I think the most important thing about prayer is simply spending time with Him. Another thought-provoking post. Thank you. Linnea


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