Do you agree that no matter your age, gender, ethnic background or financial status, we all at some point in life have to face problems? We are all equals when facing problems, aren’t we?
I personally had to deal with many problems in my life and I still remember one of them in special. In the beginning of year 1 at school, my math teacher said she was going to teach us how to solve many maths problems throughout the year. Unfortunately, I did not pay attention to her classes and by the end of the year; I failed in my final exam. In Brazil, country where I am from, that means two things. Firstly, your parents will punish you and secondly, you will have to repeat the whole year, joining a class of younger students the following academic year. That was for me at that specific stage of life a big problem.
I will tell you how solve this problem latter but right now, let me share with you the story of a man who had a much bigger problem than I had. I would like to invite you to open your Bible in Mark 2.1-12 in order find out not what his problem was and how he managed to have it solved.
- What is our big problem?
This passage tells us the story of a man who had three major problems in Jesus’ time. One, he was a crippled, not able to walk. There was no wheelchairs two thousand years ago so he could not move around, independently, but rather had to rely on people’s help even to go to the toilet. Two, he was poor. He could not get a job and during that time there was no allowance for disability. He had to rely on donations to survive. Three, he was socially rejected. Someone in that condition was avoided by the society and even by his own relatives. Many religious people
The paralytic had many problems, but still believed he could overcome all of them with Jesus help. However, it seems that Jesus did notice none of his problems. In verso 5, Jesus instead of healing the crippled man said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Can you picture yourself going to a hospital to see a doctor due your ill conditioned and the doctor turn to you and ask you to go home because your sins are forgiven? What would you think about him? Would you think that he was out of his mind, in need of a pair of glasses or making fun of you?
Jesus, however, was not crazy, blind or mocking around. In fact, he was saying to the paralytic man that his problem was not social, financial or physical but rather spiritual. The paralyzed man was a sinner. Someone who displeases God.
The crippled man had to understand that even though he suffered a lot, due these three problems, they were temporally. Nevertheless, his sinful condition would last for all eternity. Jesus as a good doctor gave him the right diagnosis revealing his greater problem. Without the right, diagnosis we cannot get the right treatment.
Are you facing one of the three problems mentioned here? Are you ill or have any kind of disability? Are you having trouble with your finances? Have you been discriminated or rejected by those who should love you? If you have said yes for one of these three questions I would like to add sin in your list. All of us are sinners who need to realize that our earthly problems are nothing when compared to the eternal problem of sin.
However, how can we be healed from this big problem, called sin? We simply need to find a big solution.
- What is our big solution?
This man was disable, poor and rejected but still could move, eat and feel loved because he had friends who took special care of him. The Bible tells us that his friends knew that Jesus, the healer, was in Capernaum so they decided to end up the paralytic man’s problem by taking him to see Jesus. When they arrived where Jesus was, they could not get him to Jesus because of the huge crowd outside the house. Did they give up? No, they actually had a bright idea of removing part of the roof above Jesus and lowered down the paralytic.
Would your friends do it for you in order to see you better? The paralitic man had real friends who were ready to do anything to see him healed. They already knew that Jesus was known as a powerful healer who had cured many people, a teacher who spoke with authority and demon caster who had authority to control the spiritual beings.
In this passage, he reveals more about himself. Jesus was not only a teacher, a healer or a demon caster. When he calls himself the “Son of Man”. He identifies himself as God, the only one who can forgive sins. Wasn’t that the paralic greater problem? Jesus could not only solve the paralict physical problem but spiritual as well. However some religious people who were in the house at the moment doubt Jesus’ claim. They believed that Jesus was a blasphemer, in other words, someone who wrongly claims to be God.
That was not good news for the paralict man, was it? If Jesus was not God, he would either be a liar or a lunatic, right? If Jesus was not God, how could the paralict man have his greater problem solved? But Jesus right away knew what they were thinking. So he told them that anyone can make claims however to show that he was truly the Son of Man told he healed the paralic.
Do you believe that Jesus can forgive your sin? Jesus was crucified because he kept saying that he was God. He was not crucified because he killed someone. He was not crucified because he robbed someome. He was not crucified because he rebelled against the Roman Empire. Jesus was crucified so our sins could be forgiven.
Perhaps you are now facing a different problem but in the end we all have a common problem that only Jesus can solve. He is the only one who can assist you with our biggest problem, sin. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice so we could have our sins forgiven. That was his mission, he died on the cross to take on himself our sins.
I shared in the beginning that I had a big problem to solve when I was a child, right? Now let me tell you how I solved the problem. My teacher gave me a second chance saying that if I learned everything that I needed to learn in a week, she would allow me take the test. I did not want to be punished by my parents or have to repeat year one so I studied hard and passed. I learned this lesson when I was a child as I also can learn four main lessons from the paralict story.
First, our earthly problems need to be dealt with faith. The paralictic had reasons to give up fighting for his life but he did not. What would you do in his shoes? Would you blame God? Would you commit suicide? I do not know about you but this paralytic man decided get some help. He still had hope. He was a faithful man.
Second, our spiritual problem needs to be dealt with the right diagnosis. We all are sinners as Paul says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.” Without the right diagnosis, you cannot be correctly treated. How do you deal with this diagnosis? Do you ignore it?
Third, our earthly friends help us to solve earthly problems. Without his friends, the paralised man would never be able to reach Jesus. They were real friends. A real friend is not someone who goes to the pub with you when you are well but the person who stays in the hospital with you when you are ill. Real friends are not interested in your money, power or status but rather interested in your welfare. Who led you to Jesus?
Fourth, our spiritual friend Jesus helps us to solve our spiritual problem sin. Even though the paralict man had friends who cared about him, they could not do anything to solve his spiritual problem. You also might have friends who look after you but what can they do to salve you if they also need help. Only Jesus can forgive sin. Only Jesus can save us? How are you going to have you problem solved? Are you going to allow Jesus our real friend to help you?