1. JESUS SEES A PERSON IN NEED
a. As Jesus went to Capernaum and the news spread, what happened? Mark 2:1, 2. Who also sought healing, and how did he approach Jesus? Verse 3.
“This paralytic had lost all hope of recovery. His disease was the result of a life of sin, and his sufferings were embittered by remorse. He had long before appealed to the Pharisees and doctors, hoping for relief from mental suffering and physical pain. But they coldly pronounced him incurable, and abandoned him to the wrath of God. The Pharisees regarded affliction as an evidence of divine displeasure, and they held themselves aloof from the sick and the needy. Yet often these very ones who exalted themselves as holy were more guilty than the sufferers they condemned.
“The palsied man was entirely helpless, and, seeing no prospect of aid from any quarter, he had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. He was told that others as sinful and helpless as he had been healed; even lepers had been cleansed. And the friends who reported these things encouraged him to believe that he too might be cured if he could be carried to Jesus. But his hope fell when he remembered how the disease had been brought upon him. He feared that the pure Physician would not tolerate him in His presence.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 267.
2. FRIENDS HELP THE SICK
a. As the crowd surrounded Jesus, what did the sick man’s friends do? Mark 2:4. What lessons can we learn from their persistence?
“Again and again the bearers of the paralytic tried to push their way through the crowd, but in vain. The sick man looked about him in unutterable anguish. When the longed-for help was so near, how could he relinquish hope? At his suggestion his friends bore him to the top of the house and, breaking up the roof, let him down at the feet of Jesus. The discourse was interrupted. The Saviour looked upon the mournful countenance, and saw the pleading eyes fixed upon Him. He understood the case; He had drawn to Himself that perplexed and doubting spirit. While the paralytic was yet at home, the Saviour had brought conviction to his conscience. When he repented of his sins, and believed in the power of Jesus to make him whole, the life-giving mercies of the Saviour had first blessed his longing heart. Jesus had watched the first glimmer of faith grow into a belief that He was the sinner’s only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 268.
“Let your heart break for the longing it has for God, for the living God. The life of Christ has shown what humanity can do by being partaker of the divine nature. All that Christ received from God we too may have. Then ask and receive. With the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah, claim for yourself all that God has promised.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 149.
b. What parable of Christ illustrates this virtue? Luke 11:5–10.
“Sometimes answers to our prayers come immediately; sometimes we have to wait patiently and continue earnestly to plead for the things that we need, our cases being illustrated by the case of the importunate solicitor for bread. ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight,’ etc. This lesson means more than we can imagine. We are to keep on asking, even if we do not realize the immediate response to our prayers. ‘I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ Luke 11:9, 10.”—Counsels on Health, p. 380.
3. JESUS SPEAKS HEALING TO THE MIND
a. Upon seeing this sick man, what did Jesus say? Mark 2:5.
“Now, in words that fell like music on the sufferer’s ear, the Saviour said, ‘Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.’
“The burden of despair rolls from the sick man’s soul; the peace of forgiveness rests upon his spirit, and shines out upon his countenance. His physical pain is gone, and his whole being is transformed. The helpless paralytic is healed! the guilty sinner is pardoned!
“In simple faith he accepted the words of Jesus as the boon of new life. He urged no further request, but lay in blissful silence, too happy for words. The light of heaven irradiated his countenance, and the people looked with awe upon the scene.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 268.
b. How did the scribes react to these words? Verses 6, 7.
“The rabbis had waited anxiously to see what disposition Christ would make of this case. They recollected how the man had appealed to them for help, and they had refused him hope or sympathy. Not satisfied with this, they had declared that he was suffering the curse of God for his sins. . . . They marked the interest with which all were watching the scene, and they felt a terrible fear of losing their own influence over the people. . . .
“Jesus had declared that the sins of the paralytic were forgiven. The Pharisees caught at these words as blasphemy, and conceived that they could present this as a sin worthy of death. They said in their hearts, ‘He blasphemeth: who can forgive sins but One, even God?’ Mark 2:7, R. V.”—Ibid., pp.268, 269.
c. How did Jesus respond to their doubts? Verses 8–11.
“Fixing His glance upon them, beneath which they cowered, and drew back, Jesus said, ‘Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,’ He said, turning to the paralytic, ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.’ ”—Ibid. p. 269.
4. GOD’S HEALING, SAVING POWER
a. How did the paralytic respond to Jesus’ command to walk? Mark 2:12 (first part).
“Then he who had been borne on a litter to Jesus rises to his feet with the elasticity and strength of youth. The life-giving blood bounds through his veins. Every organ of his body springs into sudden activity. The glow of health succeeds the pallor of approaching death.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 269.
b. What was the reaction of the people? Verse 12 (second part).
“The effect produced upon the people by the healing of the paralytic was as if heaven had opened, and revealed the glories of the better world. As the man who had been cured passed through the multitude, blessing God at every step, and bearing his burden as if it were a feather’s weight, the people fell back to give him room, and with awe-stricken faces gazed upon him, whispering softly among themselves, ‘We have seen strange things today.’
“The Pharisees were dumb with amazement and overwhelmed with defeat. . . . They were disconcerted and abashed, recognizing, but not confessing, the presence of a superior being. The stronger the evidence that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins, the more firmly they entrenched themselves in unbelief.”—Ibid., pp.270, 271.
c. What method did God use in creation? Psalms 148:5; 33:6, 9; Genesis 1:3. What does He use in redemption? How does this relate to the paralytic?
“It required nothing less than creative power to restore health to that decaying body. The same voice that spoke life to man created from the dust of the earth had spoken life to the dying paralytic. And the same power that gave life to the body had renewed the heart. He who at the creation ‘spake, and it was,’ who ‘commanded, and it stood fast,’ (Psalm 33:9), had spoken life to the soul dead in trespasses and sins. The healing of the body was an evidence of the power that had renewed the heart. Christ bade the paralytic arise and walk, ‘that ye may know,’ He said, ‘that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.’”—Ibid., pp.269, 270.
5. HEALING THROUGH FORGIVENESS
a. What effect does sin have upon us, and what do we need? Psalms 38:4; 41:4; Acts 10:38.
b. What accompanies physical healing? Psalm 103:2, 3. What can we learn from the story of the paralytic?
“The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. The spiritual healing was followed by physical restoration. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease, who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, ‘Thy sins are forgiven.’ The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can give would impart vigor to the mind, and health to the body.
“Jesus came to ‘destroy the works of the devil.’ ‘In Him was life,’ and He says, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ He is ‘a quickening spirit.’ 1 John 3:8; John 1:4; 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45. And He still has the same life-giving power as when on earth He healed the sick, and spoke forgiveness to the sinner. He ‘forgiveth all thine iniquities,’ He ‘healeth all thy diseases.’ Psalm 103:3”—The Desire of Ages, p. 270.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did the Pharisees regard the sick and the needy? What was the reality of the situation?
2. When did the paralytic repent of his sins? What accompanied his repentance?
3. How did Jesus take away this man’s mental burden, and what was the result?
4. How is the way God heals the body similar to the way He renews the mind?
5. For what kind of healing are many people in the world today longing?