After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”
Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”
Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, “Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.”
And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”
Mark 2: 1-12
I’ve thought so much about this story in the last year. I’ve written a good bit about it: the man on the mat, the friends who carried him, how he must have felt to see their exhaustion, how humbled and thankful he must have been to see their love for him.
Today, I see new words in the story.
When Jesus healed the man, he said, “Take your mat, and go home.”
I cannot claim this discovery; it came in a letter from a friend.
“In that parable with the man on the mat that you have referred to so compellingly, when the man is healed, he gets up and walks. Just walks.
None of this running around, carrying the next guy, or climbing up the rope from which he was lowered. Jesus tells him to go home. Maybe Jesus knew that the man on the mat would still need to be at home gathering strength.
So I pray that you are gathering strength. I pray that you are finding your feet under you, and making your way carefully home.
And while I stand amazed at God’s miracle in you, I’ll just keep praying.
Mat or no mat, temporarily paralyzed or in full function, year one or year two, writing beautifully or quietly reflecting, whatever your status is this year, Tricia, I am praying for you.”
I am blessed, humbled, loved, overcome.