Because God Forgives

Bob Anderson January 24, 2021 Mark 2:1-12

3 responses in light of God’s forgiveness

I. Recognize the Needs of Others

A. Bring people to Jesus

B. Don’t give up easy

II. Understand the Power of Forgiveness

A. Believe His word

B. Don’t question Jesus

III. Glorify His Name

A. Obey His commands

Mark 16:15 - Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

B. Tell others

Proposition: To help our friends find forgiveness, we must bring them to Jesus who has authority to forgive sins.

Before I jump into Mark 2 – I want you to know how what happened in Mark 1. Jesus began His very public ministry in the city of Capernaum. He preached about the Kingdom of God. He demonstrated his power. He cast out demons, healed disease – He healed just about every sick person in town.

His miracles eclipsed His message! The people flocked to Jesus to see what He would do next. Each miracle left them hungry for more as if he were a magician doing cool things. To escape this frenzy, Jesus and His disciples left Capernaum and began a preaching tour through Galilee.

Now, that preaching tour is over and Jesus return to Capernaum.

They go to Peter’s house (1:29) word soon got out that Jesus was back in town. When the people heard that the Miracle Worker had returned, they hurried to the house where he was staying.

Let us pick it up from that point and read…

Slide Read Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus came back to Capernaum a few days later, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer space, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And some people came, bringing to Him a man who was paralyzed, carried by four men. 4 And when they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and after digging an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5 And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and thinking it over in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were thinking that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you thinking about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet, and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Today I want to share with you Slide 3 responses in light of God’s forgiveness.

Recognize the needs of others Mark 2:1-4

We must recognize that all are in need of a Savior. All are in need of what Jesus offers if we put our faith and trust in him.

We have a man laying by the path. People noticed him. I’m sure they recognized that he wanted to see Jesus as well.

But – If I help him – then I wont get a good spot to see the great miracle worker.

Church – We must recognize the needs of others. Once we begin to recognize the needs of other then we need to…

Bring people to Jesus 1-3a

These 4 men recognized that their friend needed to get to Jesus.

- Can you imagine the paralyzed man – all day long he lays around trying to get things from people because he is unable to do for himself.

I would be crying – that my friends would care for me that much. Do you understand what is at stake for this guy? He could walk again! Oh yeah and his sins were forgiven.

Here is this poor man lying helplessly. In that day, they didn’t have wheelchairs, ramps, or handicap parking places. He could not earn a living, except to beg. He was dependent on his friends to carry him anywhere he needed to go. He couldn’t dress himself or take care of his himself. It would seem that his main need was for physical healing.

You wouldn’t bring people or issues to Jesus if you didn’t think he could help you.

Today of all days Jesus is in town – and you know that he can heal you because you have heard all the stories of those he has healed. Today you feel like you have hit the lottery in friendships because 4 men stopped to pick you up and bring you to Jesus.

Godly people are moved by human needs.

Some would look at these men carrying this paralyzed man and think:

“Hey theirs that paralyzed man we pass every day. What’s he doing here? It’s not like he’s going to get in the house – he would take up to much room lying on the floor. I mean if he is laying on the floor that would take up like 3 people’s space.”

These 4 men went to Jesus believing with all of their heart that Jesus could and would heal their friend, that Jesus would help him walk.

Do you expect Jesus to work in the lives of the people you introduce Him to? (I am afraid that we have stopped expecting other people in our lives to come to Jesus). Many think that if people want to come to Jesus they will find their way to Him.

When you bring someone to church or you start sharing the love of God with someone do you expect good things or are you just crossing your fingers?

They arrive notice the place is full. So, the Bible says they just left him out in front of the house. They looked down at the man and say “we tried. Better luck next time.”


Don’t give up easy 3b-4

The paralyzed man sees that his friends are working on a plan.

The 4 men probably huddled around and said “We have a few options.”

  1. We could yell “Fire” to get everyone to scatter out of the Peter’s house and then we could get to Jesus - yea but Jesus could just put the fire out”
  1. We could say that Justin Bieber is out in the parking lot and all the teen girls and their parents would leave – that would free up some space. Yea but Jesus is more famous than Justin Bieber so that probably won’t work.
  1. We could take him up to the roof and dig a hole and lower him down to see Jesus.

So, they took option C. That seemed reasonable to them.

Church – let me tell you this - Not one option was to give up! God’s people shouldn’t give up easy when it comes to bringing people to Jesus.

You say – “But Bob” They won’t come to church with me – I even said please…”

I texted them. I emailed them. I called them on the phone. I posted our service times on FB. I flew a plane over their house with a message trailing behind.

They didn’t let obstacles get in the way. Obstacles today could be that “My kids just don’t like to come to church” Pick up the mat and carry them to church! “My friend doesn’t like church people” Pick up the mat and carry them to church.

Keep in mind that your goal shouldn’t be to get them to come to church but to get them to come to Jesus – going to church will shortly follow. Maybe you have to think of other ways to get them to Jesus like these four men did. We have room in our church for them – no need to cut a hole in the roof. Tell your friends that you will take them to dinner after church (your treat). Don’t give up easy.

They were motivated by their friend’s physical. But their actions in getting around this crowd by letting the paralytic down through the roof is a great illustration of how we should do all we can to bring our needy friends to Jesus.

Note some of the qualities pictured in their actions:

*Creativity—Hey, why not the roof? The homes of that day usually had an outside stairway leading up to a flat roof. These men had the philosophy, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If there was a closed door, they found an open roof. If you can’t reach somebody one way, try another way.

*Urgency—Why not wait until the crowds had dispersed? There was always tomorrow. They could have told their friend, “It must not be God’s timing.” But these men knew that their friend needed help, so they didn’t let the crowd stop them. While we can’t force the gospel on people, we should communicate the urgency of eternal matters.

*Sacrifice—If you want to reach people for Christ, you may have to sacrifice some material things, including a perfect house. Your carpet may get coffee or food stains on it. Your kids’ toys may get broken. I’m not suggesting that you let people run wild and destroy your home. That’s not good stewardship. But neither is it good stewardship not to have people over because you want to preserve everything. Don’t view your home as a museum. View it as a missionary outpost.

*Persistence—We need tact, and we shouldn’t pressure a person who is not open to the gospel. But if we try once to talk about spiritual things and a person is not open, do we back off and conclude that he must not be one of the elect? Or do we keep at it?

*A team effort—It took four men to get this one man to Jesus. That is often the case. We dare not get jealous over who gets the credit. The main thing is getting the person to Jesus. It’s great when several people work together in bringing a common friend to the Lord. It almost always takes more than one.

I would also like to suggest that we make space for those who do not know Jesus. We make space for people who need Jesus.

-Some would just be upset that a hole was being put in the roof where they were listening to Jesus.

-Some will just get mad that mud and dirt is getting all over them and the floor.

-Some will say “Jesus is teaching here what are you doing?”

-“Have a little respect – Jesus is teaching here.”

God’s people would see the need of the person being lowered and clear a spot.

Sometimes we need to just get out of the way!

Wouldn’t it have been nice if the crowd of people (the church) recognized the need of the paralytic? They could have made a path so that this man could have been brought in front of Jesus.

Sometimes we are pre-occupied with us – that we don’t notice those who really have a need.

We don’t need to make it hard for people to come to Jesus. We don’t need to remind them of all the sin in their life. We don’t need to play judge and jury for people. We need to play traffic cop and clear a path so that people have an open lane to Jesus.

Have you ever seen when a person was injured in the middle of a large crowd? As the paramedics are coming through people make a path. When you hear the sirens of an ambulance the cars make a path – even on the busiest highways.

What if we did that? We cleared a path for people so that it was easier for them to come to Jesus. We wouldn’t judge them based on the bad things in their life and say – servers you right – you made some bad choices – you have to live with it – If you want to see Jesus you have to climb a roof and start digging a hole.

Let’s clear a path and make it easy for people to come to Jesus!

God’s people won’t let obstacles get in the way of bringing people to Jesus.

Understand the power of forgiveness Mark 2:5-9

Jesus offered this man forgiveness! This is what he needed the most. Jesus offered this man what all humans need the most. Our greatest need is not to be healed physically. Our greatest need is not to be rescued out of our financial crisis. Our greatest need is not to get the vaccine. Our greatest need is forgiveness of our sins. Jesus offered it to the paralytic and he offers this to you as well.

Jesus recognized the faith of those 5 men. – yes 5 men – the paralyzed man could have told his friends not to bother it won’t work – but he had faith that if he could just see Jesus, he would get healed. Jesus did infinitely more than they asked or imagined.

I bet there was some sort of look and a connection that Jesus had with the four men lowering their friend – almost a thumbs up look or it may very well have been the very first fist pound.

They carried him in but he is walking out! Little did they know that their friend would walk out a forgiven man – his sins would be forgiven – because they brought him to Jesus. Stand up people bring people to Jesus.

The expectation of the four men and probably everyone else in the house was that Jesus would heal the man being lowered. Jesus didn’t meet their expectations right away.

Jesus startled everyone by saying to the paralytic, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” It must have startled the guys on the roof. One of them had his head down through the opening so he could hear. The other guys were asking, “What did Jesus say?” He relayed, “He said that his sins are forgiven.” “His sins are forgiven! Didn’t He heal him? You mean we went to all the trouble of digging this hole in the roof and letting him down just so he could get his sins forgiven? We want him healed!”

Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” To heal the man’s body would have made his life more comfortable. But without healing his soul, he would have died and faced God’s righteous judgment. His main need was forgiveness of sins, not physical healing.

Some may look at this poor man and say, “His main need is for emotional healing. Imagine what he must feel like, being totally dependent on others for everything he does. Imagine what it must feel like to lie in the streets and beg every day. We need to help him see that he is a worthwhile human being, created in the image of God.” But Jesus did not say, “Friend, I want you to feel good about yourself.” He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

Forgiveness of sins is not just a little option, thrown in with the total benefit package of the abundant life. If the Bible’s message about death and eternal judgment is correct, then forgiveness is the main need of every person! People don’t primarily need their marriages fixed. They don’t primarily need their emotional problems resolved. They don’t primarily need economic help. People need to know with assurance from God that their sins are forgiven. All other needs are secondary. As Jesus taught on another occasion, “What profit is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” (Matt. 16:25). There’s something much more important than having a healthy body and plenty of money: Having God forgive your sins.

Forgiveness is more powerful than healing.

Believe His word Mark v.5

Don’t question Jesus v.6-9

Have you questioned Jesus?

God why did you let this happen to me?

God I have been working so hard – why would you allow me to lose my job?

God why won’t you allow me to have children?

Questioning Jesus has been going on since the Bible was written.

Here in Mark 2 - It startled the Jewish religious leaders in the audience. Luke tells us that they weren’t just the locals, but that they had come from “every village in Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem” (5:17). They weren’t there to get blessed by Jesus’ teaching. They were there on official business, to check out this popular young upstart and catch Him in some heresy.

Jesus gave them their money’s worth! His words were deliberately calculated to create a dilemma from which these scribes couldn’t escape without admitting that Jesus was God in human flesh. He said to this paralytic, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

By leading off with the pronouncement, “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus set up a dilemma for His critics. He knew that they would grumble by asking, quite correctly, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when He spoke the word and healed the man, it was obvious that God’s power was present. If Jesus were speaking blasphemy by forgiving the man’s sins, then how could they explain God’s granting Jesus the power to heal him?

Jesus used this miracle to prove His claim to have authority to forgive sins. His power in the visible realm over paralysis established His authority in the spiritual realm to forgive sins. He read His critics’ minds and then asked them, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?” (5:23). From a human standpoint, it’s easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” since there’s no way to verify it. From God’s perspective, to forgive sins is more difficult, since it involved the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus took that which is humanly more difficult—healing the man—and used it to verify His claim to forgive his sins.

When these religious men heard Jesus forgive the crippled man’s sins, they could not believe their ears! They knew that only God could forgive sins. They understood the words of Jesus as a claim to be God!

This was the first encounter Jesus had with the religious elite of His day, but it would not be the last.

Those Pharisees that were right up front to hear and see Jesus with the paralytic man had thoughts of what Jesus was doing. Jesus didn’t even have to hear them speak – he knew what they were thinking – Hey here is a brain buster for you this morning – He knows what you are thinking as well. In their mind they questioned what Jesus was doing forgiving sins. You question Jesus – You question God. They though Jesus was making an empty claim or an empty statement. You can’t prove that you forgave sins – it could have been something that Jesus just said. So, he tells them “what is easier, to tell a paralytic to get up and walk (because that is something you can see) or to tell him his sins are forgiven?”

They even accused Jesus of blasphemy. How do you blaspheme yourself?

They didn’t seem to even care about the paralyzed man. It was more about Theology. Some people would rather be right then care for people. Some people would rather argue the Bible then actually appreciate and see and celebrate what Jesus is doing.

Jesus proved his powers to the doubters.

*They could have actually enjoyed what was happening! A praise and worship time could have broken out the man’s sins were forgiven and a paralyzed man walking again!

The religious leaders said “Only God can forgive.” Jesus says: “I know, you’re right, I just did.”

Glorify His name Mark 2:10-12

In these verses, Jesus uses the physical to prove the spiritual. The forgiveness of sin cannot be proven, but the physical healing is easy to prove. When Jesus commanded the man to, “arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house”, He was proving that He was Who He claimed to be.

This was the acid test! If Jesus gave the command and the paralytic just continued to lie there, then Jesus would be proven to be a fraud. But, if the man got up, as he did, it would prove that Jesus possessed the power to heal. A power, by the way, that was one of the calling cards of the Messiah.

We glorify his name by…

Obey His commands v.11-12a

This paralyzed man probably had very little muscle in his legs. Jesus fixed that! This man had not stood up in a while (we don’t know how long he was paralyzed). Not even the finest of doctors today can say “stand up and walk.” It would take surgery, months of rehab, etc.

Imagine the paralyzed man hearing these words. THIS IS WHAT HE CAME FOR! The faith of this man is also worth noting.

V. 12 – “He got up immediately.” We glorify God when we obey his commands.

Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. – Respond Church!

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Respond Church!

We glorify God when we obey his word.

We glorify God when we…

Tell others v.12 b

I love how this ends. The paralytic – Mark 2:12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone…” I don’t know what else he did (If he did the running man dance, “every day I’m shuffling”, jump up and down, I don’t know)

LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! I CAN WALK! AND MY SINS WERE FORGIVEN! I was the guy that was laying on the mat out in the streets but today I am the guy who Jesus healed and I can walk!

When God tells us to do something, we don’t need to question it. We respond to His Word.

v.12 “We have never seen anything like this!” That is right – God’s power is unlike anyone else. You will never see power like this.


Jesus knew that the paralyzed man had two problems. What were his two problems? physical and spiritual. We know this because he couldn’t walk and he was a sinner – he said to the paralyzed man “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

Jesus did not come into this world to heal our bodies. These bodies we have will remain mortal and corruptible, and a source of disease and temptation all our time on this earth, generation after generation. Jesus' mission 2000 years ago was not to fix people physically, but to fix people spiritually, so He immediately forgave the sins of this man who believed in Him.

Church: I don’t know who your paralytic is. I don’t know who you need to bring to Jesus. But I do know we need to start carrying some people on mats – bringing them before Jesus so that He can work in their lives, forgive them of sin and heal them.


Bob Anderson


B. S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College

Bob is married to Heather and they have two adult children Tori and Hailey. Bob has spent 20+ years in student ministry and is the founder of an urban ministry in Chicago reaching teens. Bob has authored 14 books/booklets.