Posted on July 24, 2013
#12: The Heart-Reader
Welcome back to our study on Mark! My prayer is that each week you’re getting to know Jesus better. Today we’ll see Jesus’ insight into our hearts, needs and motives. Open your Bible and take a look at Jesus, the Heart-Reader.
Read Mark 2:1-12.
Also read Matthew 9:1-7 and Luke 5:17-26 for different views of the same event.
News raced through Capernaum: Jesus was back in town! On His last visit, Jesus had healed many of the townspeople, starting with a demon-possessed man in their synagogue (Mark 1:21-38). This time, the people didn’t wait for a Sabbath. They came straight to Jesus—a crowd so thick that every available space was taken. Even the doorway was packed. Pharisees and teachers of the law from all over Galilee and Judea were there also, with motives of their own (Lk. 5:17).
Jesus began to teach. The people listened intently until their attention was drawn away by dust—and then pieces of ceiling—falling in front of Jesus. Within minutes, daylight streamed in through a large opening in the flat clay roof. Then something began descending through the hole. A mat—and on the mat, a man. Peering down through the opening above were four anxious faces of the rope-holders.
At this point, we see Jesus reading the intent of three parties in the story.
1) The four friends.
Mark says, “When Jesus saw their faith,” He offered healing to their friend. These men were absolutely certain, all they needed to do to end their friend’s suffering was get him to Jesus. They had faith that would stop at nothing, faith that found its way past a blocked doorway and challenging circumstances, faith that refused to give up. Jesus read their hearts and honored their faith with results.
2) The paralyzed man.
Jesus’ first words to the man were, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Sins gone, but limbs still locked. This is the only healing in the gospels where Jesus made a point of forgiving the victim’s sins first—the greater healing. Maybe his sin had caused his condition. Perhaps guilt over his past would continue to cripple him even if his body was whole. We don’t know why, but we do know that Jesus—who could read his heart—offered spiritual healing before physical healing. Then, Jesus spoke the words five men had hoped to hear: “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Dr. Luke writes, “Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.” Instant healing of soul and body—a miracle!
3) The Pharisees and teachers of the law.
Jesus “knew in his spirit…what they were thinking in their hearts,” and He called them out, responding aloud to their silent accusations. They had mentally charged Jesus with blasphemy—taking for Himself what belonged to God alone. It was a crime punishable by death under the Law (Lev. 24:15-16) and would eventually be one of the charges used to crucify Jesus (Mk. 14:61-64). They were right that only God could forgive sins; their mistake was failing to recognize Jesus as God made flesh. Jesus had the authority—”the right and the might”—because He was God. He read their hearts and answered in undeniable power.
He is still the Heart-Reader. He knows our thoughts and motives. He forgives our sins. He honors true faith. He heals our diseases of body and soul. Are you content with what He’ll read in your heart today?
What’s on your mind?
Does it comfort you or bother you that Jesus is the Heart-Reader, knowing you inside and out?
Jesus saw the faith of the four friends, but we’re never told that the man himself had faith to be healed. He may have been healed because of the faith of his friends—his “rope-holders.” When you are in need, who serves as your rope-holder? Who carries you to Jesus for comfort, forgiveness and healing? Do you need a rope-holder? Share your need if you’d like, and let us take you to Jesus today.
© Diane McLoud 2013