Read Mark 2:1-12
Is this a healing story? Or is this a story about forgiveness and Jesus’ ability to forgive sins? Maybe it is a story about the friends’ perseverance in pursuing Jesus for the paralytic. Yes. It is all of those. But for Mark, it must have been incredibly heartening to hear Peter talk about Jesus’ authority made manifest before the teachers of the law. The teachers asked themselves, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus’ response was immediate! “Why are you thinking these things?”
Once again, Mark presents an action that Jesus took to make manifest His Sonship. Who can forgive? Only God. But, Jesus let the action speak for Him. He said to the paralytic, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk.” He did not simply say, get up and walk. But Jesus said, “take up your pallet and walk.” The very sign of the man’s infirmity—the bed upon which he had lain for however long—became the sign of his healing. It became the sign of his forgiveness!
Too often we want to divorce our mind, spirit, and body from each other. If I am walking in unforgiveness, it affects the way I think about myself, others, and God. It can lead to discouragement, depression, and doubt. My body then suffers, and my spirit is derailed. That is why St. Paul warns us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Mark could have wallowed in his failure to persevere in ministry with Paul and Barnabas, but Peter helped him see that Jesus has the authority to forgive, and that his return to ministry would be a sign of the wholeness that God had restored to him.
The people who saw the man carrying his pallet were “amazed…and they praised God.” Walking in forgiveness is an amazing thing. It brings wholeness and life to our broken selves.