Where the world comes to study the Bible

Mark 2:1-12

Chance Encounter

Down on his luck, British writer Michael Arlen went to New York in 1944. To drown his sorrows he paid a visit to the famous restaurant “21.” In the lobby, he ran into film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who offered the somewhat impractical advice that he should buy racehorses. Arlen then met Louis B. Mayer, an old acquaintance, who asked him what were his plans for the future.

“I was just talking to Sam Goldwyn —” began Arlen.

“How much did he offer you?” interrupted Mayer.

Arlen hesitated. “Not enough,” he replied evasively.

“Would you take $15,000 for 30 weeks?” asked Mayer.

“Yes,” Arlen answered without a moment’s hesitation.

That chance encounter was just what Michael Arlen needed.

So was the encounter experienced by the paralytic in Mark 2. But his meeting with Jesus wasn’t by chance. It occurred through the loving devotion of his close friends. They weren’t about to let slip the opportunity to bring him to Jesus, and as a result this man experienced one of the Bible’s great miracles. As Jesus taught in a room jammed with people, He may have felt particles of dirt falling on His head. He and the crowd looked up to see daylight streaming through a growing hole in the roof. Then the needy man was lowered through the opening.

Jesus’ response amazes us no matter how often we read this familiar story. He took care of the greater problem first, forgiving the man’s sins. This angered Jesus’ opponents (vv. 6-7), who reasoned that only God could forgive sins. To prove His authority over sin, Jesus invoked His authority over sickness: to the paralytic He said, “Get up, take your mat and go home” (v. 11). The man whose body had been motionless, did just as Jesus commanded.

As amazed as the crowd must have been by sight of a man being lowered through a roof, they were more amazed when they saw him walk out of the house with his mat under his arm. They said, “We have never seen anything like this!” (v 12)—and that was never more true than with Jesus.

Today in the Word, May 23, 1993