"Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:9-12 (NLT)
In this setting, Jesus is in a house that is surrounded by a huge crowd. One might ask, how was this paralyzed man able to get to Jesus? This man had four great friends who carried him to see Jesus. They even tore off the roof of the house where Jesus was just to get this man to Him. Jesus saw the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends and said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Meanwhile, the teachers of the law were sitting, thinking to themselves, “This guy Jesus is a fool. How could he possibly forgive sins? Only God can.” Jesus knew what they were thinking and replied to them with these passages.
Of all the things in these verses, the mat is what jumps out at me. Maybe to the paralyzed man the mat would represent his sin. He had to bare that mat all day and night without moving off of it. I bet that he had to lay on it for years and it was probably one of the few items he owned. Jesus saw this mat as important enough, for this man, to take with him after He done this miracle.
Think about the challenging question Jesus gave in this passage, “Which is easier?” Many of us believe that it is easier for Jesus to fix our problems, but not easy to forgive us of our sins. On the other hand, there are many of us who believe it is easy for Jesus to forgive us, but hard to fix our problems. Jesus so beautifully shows us in this passage that He has great authority to do both, forgiving and fixing.
Jesus has taught me that the mat is not a symbol of this paralyzed man’s sins, but a symbol of Jesus’ ability to forgive us of our sins while fixing our problems. At that moment the paralyzed man was no longer called paralyzed. He was just a man who was able to take up his mat and go home with Jesus’ blessing. Many times we have to carry our mats with us to remind us of what Jesus has done in the past and what He is going to do in our future.
Jesus said that He wants us to know He is the Son of God. He is not only able but willing to do both the fixing and forgiving in our lives. Be encouraged today knowing that Jesus never leaves His projects half done, or makes it easier by rushing through to get finished. He does not take the easy way out, but the perfect way.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are a fixer and forgiver. The fixing may not always be the way had hoped, but the perfect way I needed. Thank you that you always forgive me when I confess my sins to you. Help me to see the mats I have accumulated as reminders of your past and future faithfulness.