Lenten Devotional – Day 8 – Feeling Unworthy
Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. (Mark 2:3-5, 10b-11)
In whatever way and at whatever time we come to Jesus, it is the right way and the right time. Jesus meets us with love and healing. The paralyzed man on the mat was unable to come on his own. He needed the support of friends. Unable to get to the door, he is lowered through the roof. He meets Jesus flat on his back, unable to move. He does not speak or ask aloud for healing; perhaps he does not have the words or feels unworthy to say them.
In this time period, physical infirmity was regarded as punishment for personal sin or for the sins of one’s parents or ancestors. Perhaps the paralyzed man felt unworthy to even be in Jesus’ presence, but Jesus reads his heart and knows his need. In love, Jesus first heals the broken spirit, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Although these words serve as a demonstration to the priests and the people of His divinity and power to forgive sins, I believe Jesus’ first concern was to meet the needs of the man before Him. He gives a hurting man love and heals the man’s spirit before he heals the body. Jesus wants us to be not just physically well, but also emotionally and spiritually well. He wants us to be whole.
Jesus meets each of us where we are, in whatever way we are able to approach Him. He sees Zacchaeus hiding in a tree and welcomes him; He meets the Samaritan woman as she draws water alone because she is ashamed to be at the well with the other women; He meets Nicodemus in secret in the middle of the night. He waits patiently and lovingly for us to look His way or move into His presence. And when we do, He enfolds us in His healing love as we are able to receive it. And we are home.