Hebrews 4:1-5, 11
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”
though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.”
Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
Psalm 78: 3-4, 6c-8
Things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Mark 2: 1-12
When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
In Hebrews we read about people being disobedient to God. Then the psalmist talks about a rebellious and wayward generation, and in the Gospel the scribes reject the words of Jesus. So even when we hear the word of God and witness his power, faith does not always result. As it says in Hebrews, “indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”
We are helped in our spiritual walk when we stay connected to other people of faith. We are communal people and when we sin, we sin against God and each other. Then we suffer guilt and possibly shame which can cripple our relationships.
When Jesus healed the paralytic, he saw that the man had loyal and faith-filled friends who carried him in and even tore up the ceiling to get close to Jesus.
Jesus began the healing by pronouncing the words of absolution. He needed to hear that he was forgiven even if it already appeared that way.
In receiving forgiveness, we allow faith to change us, heal us and transform us and the community.
Today consider where you are in the story of the paralytic. Are you seeking Jesus and letting Him shape who you become, or do you feel like you are standing back and watching other people have encounters with God, wondering if it’s real? Are you standing back because you feel like you will be judged for your sins? Today, know that Jesus wants to forgive and to heal but that he sometimes needs to do it in that order.
Don’t be afraid to approach Jesus with your sins. Jesus will receive you, He will forgive you, and He will heal you when you let Him.