Seeing Their Faith
God of Faith and Hope, train the ears of my soul to hear even Your slightest whisper. I am listening, Lord.
Read Mark 2:1–12
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“This story is a picture of prayer. Don’t stay on the edge of the crowd. Dig through God’s roof and find yourself in his presence” (N. T. Wright).
“When Jesus saw their faith…” (5). This text in Mark’s Gospel speaks volumes. Most of us would have seen something rather different.
Imagine the scene. Far too many people want to see Jesus for the size of house in which he is teaching. They are crammed in and crammed up against the door. The house is of the basic sort with a roof made out of clay, reeds and matted thorns. Bits of mud or clay start dropping from the ceiling. Soon enough clumps of clay with spiky thorns embedded start falling on the heads and shoulders of people trying to listen. Then suddenly an almighty crash as a large section of roof caves in.
What do you see? What do you hear? One of the most noticeable aspects of Mark’s storytelling is what he does not tell us. It is hard to believe that nobody screamed. Someone must have done so when large rocks of clay, reed and twigs came crashing down. There must have been some dust. There was probably a little coughing and quite a bit of excited chatter. Mark moves smoothly from “digging” (4) out the roof through lowering the mattress to Jesus seeing their faith.
Jesus appears quite serene. He must have seen the chaos but Mark does not note this. He must have heard the commotion but Mark does not record this. What Mark wants us to note is that Jesus sees their faith. Jesus does not ask, “Who is going to fix this roof?” He does not even say, “Get up.” He pronounces forgiveness of sins. He knows what this man really needs and gives it. Yes, he heals the man to demonstrate his authority to forgive sins. However, he keeps the main thing the main thing—bringing a sinner back into relationship with the holy God.
Imagine Jesus in that scene, calm and serene. Imagine that you are on that mat. What does Jesus say to you?
Loving, Forgiving God, as I go out into my world today, may I be a conveyer of Your grace.