CMC Eps 21 – MARK 2:1-12 – HE CALLED HIM SON
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Hi.. I’m Gene Ort.. and you’re listening to the common man commentary..
Before we get started in this podcast I wanted to let you know that I am changing up the format a little. I have been slowly walking through the Gospels, verse by verse, in Matthew to be specific. What I am going to be doing now is sharing what is currently “ in front of me “.
What I was finding was that it became difficult to be following where I was believing the Spirit was leading me in study and also maintaining the study and production of the Mathew podcast. So now, they’re becoming one and the same. What that means is this podcast may become a bit more diverse in the sense that I might be jumping around in the gospels a bit more. I often read books or listen to other podcasts that send me down a particular path that intersects with scripture. So, that’s where I am headed with this. Also, life circumstances and challenges take me into specific areas where I need the most healing and maturing. I really get a kick out of finding helpful truths that might appear at first glance to have nothing to do with God only to discover that the truth was already there, in the Gospels but disguised by religious terminology, culture or misinterpretation.
So.. here we go.. The Title for this podcast is: “ He called him Son”
This is podcast #21.. We will be looking at MARK 2:1-12
Reading now : “And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. ,And 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 man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!””
Mark 2:6-12 ESV
If you have followed these podcasts for a while, you know I like the philosophy of “ breathing the air in the room “ as a way of studying scripture. You need to park there for a good while, letting in the sights, smells, sounds and culture to get the full meaning from it. We tend to rush by things we read in scripture in order to complete the reading task which is a horrible way to learn anything. I notice this same issue in cooking shows on TV. Instead of giving people enough time to cook the most amazing dishes, they put them on a timer to cook something incredibly complicated in too little time, while in truth, as the person eating the food, I couldn’t care less about how fast the food was cooked. I want it to taste amazing and make me feel great! Speed is the enemy of good food and spiritual understanding.
In verse one of this passage.. Jesus and his disciples return from their trip visiting the villages in the Galilee region. This is in the northern region of Israel. Capernaum is positioned at the northern most point of the Sea of Galilee, which in reality is more like a lake, where the Jordan river feeds into it. It appears right away that Jesus seems to lay pretty low for a while, I’m betting to recuperate from the travels. Jesus takes a rest. There it is, a little more evidence that all of us need to engage in active choices for self care. Rest.. Eventually, the word gets out that Jesus is back in town. At this time in history in Israel if your front door is open.. that is a free invitation to enter.. If you want your privacy.. close the door. By this time, Jesus was already famous. Everybody who could, jammed into the house, which by the way was not very big.
Rest time is over.. Jesus begins again to do what he has deemed most important. Teach. What Jesus knows is this.. we need to be taught. In this situation, we don’t really know what He was teaching about. What we do know about is the interruption.
Interruption by itself is an interesting topic. I was taught pretty early in life that if you want to insure the wrath of a teacher, interrupt them.. I grew up in an age where it was acceptable to be whacked with a wood paddle in front of a classroom full of kids for talking when you weren’t supposed to. That made an impression on me.
Mark’s account of this passage is brief and to the point .. in Luke 5:17-26 there is a lot more information about the nature of this interruption. Also, you can find another account in Matthew 9:1-8.
In short.. four men dig a whole in the roof of this house to lower their paralytic friend down in front of Jesus. It must have been chaos. What comes to mind is the now infamous guy named Mayhem in the insurance commercials.
The roofs at this time were flat and there was usually a stair case leading up the side of the house. There were wood boards or branches laid in rows with thatch and mud laid on top of it and sometimes grass growing. It would not be difficult to rip through it.. but it would be a mess for anyone below them. It makes me smile a little thinking of people including Jesus trying to get out of the way of the mud, sticks and thatch falling all over them.
My first expectation about this situation would be that the friends and the paralytic would receive a sharp rebuke. Public disruption.. vandalization.. interruption etc.
That may have happened.. but its not reported because what did happen was remarkable. Once everyone had scrambled to get out of the way of the debris and a crippled man on a stretcher is lying on the floor in front of Jesus.. Jesus speaks….
“ Son… Your sins are forgiven ! “
If you have been a part of the organized church for any length of time, you might be temped to breeze right by this moment and this sentence.
Lets look at it a little closer.
First, there is this word .. “Son “. Nobody in the room thinks that Jesus is greeting his biological offspring, but this is clearly a term of powerful familial endearment. It’s also an identity. Jesus is making the family connection clear. Jesus is speaking as The Father. Son or Daughter ship carries a lot of weight in culture, then and now. Most of the time its a term conveying honor, position, heritage and connection. There is however a context where it is used in a demeaning way, but not here. This is intimate. Personal. Affectionate.
Next, some interpretations have Jesus saying : “ I forgive “.
Again, we are staying in the first person. It’s personal. Has this person done something to Jesus that we don’t know about ? I don’t think so, at least not in the way people would normally think about it. We say “I forgive you “ usually after someone has apologized to us for wronging or disappointing us in some way. We receive the offense and repentance directly and offer forgiveness directly. If someone else offends me directly, you cant forgive them for me. Also, if you offer forgiveness to someone who has not repented for an offense, you might not like the reaction from that either.
“ I forgive “.. its active.. its powerful. It usually follows.. “I’m sorry”.
I don’t hear an I’m sorry in this account. In fact.. I don’t hear a single word from this crippled man. Apparently the actions of this situation speak louder than words. Jesus assigns a value to it. He calls it faith which is better interpreted as trust. The crippled man and his four friends trusted, believed and hoped that if they could just get in front of Jesus, then healing would be the result. Is this some kind of fabricated hope.. they whipped themselves into ? I doubt it. Jesus was famous, everyone was talking about Him. The stories of healings were circulating all over Israel. This was big news. These five men went hoping and believing that a miracle would happen that day.
I don’t think the paralytic man got exactly what he hoped for. I am betting he was hoping for a transaction. I show up to the healer, and get healed. What He received was so much more than a transaction. What he received was an adoption and an invitation. Jesus is saying : You are mine. You are my family. You have come home. You are safe. You are whole. Let that sink in for a while..
Up next.. Sin.. nobody’s favorite word. What is it ? Here is a wiki overview .. quoting : “ In a religious context, sin is a transgression against divine law. Each culture has its own interpretation of what it means to commit a sin. While sins are generally actions, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, selfish, shameful, harmful, or alienating might be termed “sinful”.
This is pretty consistent with what most people think about the term “sin “.
There is a lot of documentation on sin. Way to much for this podcast .
In the text we are looking at, some scribes, religious big shots, have been sent to listen in on Jesus teaching and calls what he said to the paralytic blasphemous.. thats bad.. In Jewish law, that would get him stoned to death. Jesus.. knows their thoughts without actually hearing them.. yup .. mental telepathy .. right there.. and Jesus confronts them.
What Jesus says next pretty much throws out the standard religious understanding of the meaning of sin.
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?
The scribes job was to copy the Torah .. the Hebrew bible. They knew very well what it said, at least from the literal perspective. They were very good Jews. They know the sin list by heart, and to them, thats exactly what it is, a list of do not do this and do not do thats. In Jewish law, if you sinned, you needed to go through a process.. usually through a priest and it evolved an animal sacrifice of some kind. It was an extremely complex system. The scribes are murmuring.. in their minds.. He cant do that, forgive sins .. He is not god !
Jesus has just made an equation.. He is saying that these two things are the same thing. Forgiven sins and restoration. Without as much as an “ I’m sorry “. How can this be ? This paralytic guy shows up with his crazy buddies makes a mess and lands at Jesus feet..Jesus adopts him.. heals his body and says were good.. you can go on home now.
I have to admit that I have been exploring this sin idea for some time. If its not just a list of dont dos.. than what is it? I have to go back to the story of Adam and Eve. Which may or may not be literal.. but either way it points to something important. The first action proceeding after the “ broken rule “ was to hide from God, who by the way was in the garden looking for them. That is not behavior of someone who does not care. The traditional way of looking at sin is to say the broken rule was the sin.. but what if the hiding from God part of this is really a better understanding of sin. The hiding part is breaking the relationship. There are too many stories that show people being forgiven for “Sin “ with no indications or opportunities to correct their bad behavior. Jesus asks the woman caught in adultery: “ where are your accusers ? “. She replies they are gone .. then neither do I accuse you.. Then He said : go.. and sin no more.. she leaves that intense circumstance with a completely new perspective of God. Jesus shows no sign of being angry with her, just a care for her and instructions in a more healthy way to live. The religious people who are supposed to be representing God want to stone her to death and Jesus who is said to be God with us has just told her she has nothing to fear. She is safe with God! No need to hide from him any more. So in a very real way, He told her to Go and from now on, stop hiding from God. It happens with the man at the pool of Bethesda in almost the exact same way and lastly with the thief on the cross next to him who’s only request was that Jesus would remember him after they were both dead later that day. Jesus reply .. today you will be with me in paradise.
If I were to have been pressed on this idea a few years ago, I think I might have had a different opinion. I might have been able to quote and agree intellectually with these verses that clearly display a level of forgiveness that exceeds my own religious experience, but my own internal belief experience had not yet arrived at. It was their experience.. not my experience. I have rarely personally experienced the modern church to model the same level of grace and mercy toward anyone that Jesus offered to these people. That disparity sets up a culture of fear which leads to a lot of hiding, from people and from God. Jesus invitation is to come out of hiding… from God. You are safe.
Until we can treat each other in the same way Jesus treated people who were broken in the same ways we are, people will not be safe in our care. My judgements and false appearance of religious superiority will keep people in fear of me and God who I represent. The outcome is unavoidable. People will pretend. They will hide. There will remain a paralyzing loneliness and feeling of unworthiness living under the often well dressed surface of who we are. There will be no healing, no adoption, no restoration, no invitation until we know we are safe.. then and only then can we come out.. from hiding..
Well thats enough to think about for now..
Until next time .. I am Gene Ort and Thank you for listening to the common man commentary.
I’D LIKE TO LEAVE YOU WITH This “ blessing :
Love God. Love Yourself. Love the next person He puts in front of you.