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On your Mark

The paralytic’s own testimony

Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:4,5, NIV)

Here’s what happened.

An hour earlier, a company of friends came to my home, excitedly announcing that Jesus had slipped back into town. They told me they were taking me to the house where He was — that they believed I would be healed if they could get me to Him.

Now healing is an option I had long ago given up on. But, my friends’ enthusiasm could not be dampened. They insisted. So, they picked me up on my mat, headed out the door and down the street. By the time we got to Jesus’ house, a huge crowd had already gathered. My friends were not deterred. Up on the roof they went and started tearing a hole over the place where He stood near the door. Then, their work completed, they tied ropes to the corners of my mat. Four of my friends each grabbed a rope and lowered me in front of Jesus.

I had absolutely no idea how He would react: Either He would chew out the friends who tore up the roof and interrupted Him, or He would heal me. Certainly, He could not ignore me. But, never in a million years, would I have guessed His first words to me: “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

How do I take that? Did He agree with those who held that sickness comes as a result of others’ sin or my own? Was He saying my paralysis, therefore, resulted from some sin?

Or, was He first addressing my inner need before my outer?

I think the latter. God knows how I felt at being laid up. Sometimes I was angry with God; other times, at myself. I hate confinement and helplessness. I hate not being able to be normal like others. Oh, I had friends, and the fact I had them meant that I was not a grouch. No, people did not stay away from me; they loved me. But, way down deep inside, I hurt badly. I sometimes secretly blamed God for the whole unfairness of my condition.

So, Jesus first exposed my thoughts before He extended my limbs. He wanted me to be healed at a layer deeper than my flesh, muscles and bones. He wanted me whole on the inside.

You see, a paralytic cannot commit some of the sins done by ambulatory people. Paralyzed people don’t rob banks, steal old ladies’ purses or commit assault and battery. No, our sins are weighted on the side of mental. It’s what we think. It’s our attitudes and verbal expressions. It’s the damage we do to ourselves both in body and mind.

Jesus knew I would never be whole if the only thing He gave me was the power to walk again. Something had to change first on the inside of me. He knew I wanted forgiveness, so without my even asking He read my mind. He forgave me and first gave me a clean heart.


GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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