Who Can Save?

January 17, 2016 Speaker: Jeff Jones

Topic: Sermon Scripture: Mark 2:1–2:12

TEXT

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12 ESV)

I. INTRODUCTION: A HOMECOMING

Our text this morning is a homecoming of sorts. Jesus has come back to Capernaum after leaving to get some space from the crowds that followed him. Obviously he came back quietly, because verse one tells us that it was heard that he was in a house - the news went by word of mouth.

Whose house was it? It’s possible that Jesus had his own house in Capernaum, but I think it’s far more likely that this was probably the same house as he was staying in before—that is, the house he’s in is probably the same house as back in chapter 1, verses 29-34. That’s the home of Peter's in-laws.

Last time we were in this house, back in chapter 1, what happened? There was healing. You can look back to chapter 1 verse 29 for a moment. First, Peter’s mother-in-law fell ill with a severe fever. Jesus took pity on her, took her by the hand, and raised her up—he healed her. Now, this healing back in chapter 1 took place on the Sabbath. That’s an important point, actually. I wonder if this was just a hint, a foreshadowing, of a confrontation about to come, because just a couple chapters later, Mark 3:1-6, Jesus comes into conflict with the Pharisees over whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Back in chapter 1, there’s no conflict, because the religious leaders don’t see it. But we do know the shadow of conflict with the Pharisees hangs over that healing in chapter 1, because the whole town shows up at the door of Peter’s mom’s house—but only in the evening, when the Sabbath is over. Why didn’t they come earlier? Fear, I think. Fear of breaking the man-made rules around the Sabbath. Fear of the men who made and kept and interpreted those rules.

Now, here we are, back in the same house again. And here we are, with someone who’s sick, at the door of Peter’s mom’s house. And, lo and behold, our text today ends with a healing, just like in chapter 1. This story, at first glance, may look like it’s about healing, but it isn’t. This is the kind of story that causes many to think of Jesus as a healer and miracle worker, but that would miss the point. There’s something much deeper, and much more important, than illness or injury here. Now, today, we see the opening of a new front in Jesus’ war against the world. The enemy here isn’t demons, or disease or disability.

No, Jesus’ foe here is disbelief. After initiating hostilities with the powers of darkness back in chapter 1, now here in chapter 2 Jesus comes into open conflict with the religious establishment. This account introduces a new front in Jesus’ war with the world. This text we’re reading today begins a section of Mark that focuses on Jesus’ war with the scribes and Pharisees. If you look ahead through the next two chapters, you'll see several incidents where Jesus confronted the Jewish religious leaders.

Why fight with them? Why did Jesus take issue with the leaders of the very faith that anticipated and expected his arrival, the very scribes who studied and taught the Scriptures that predicted him? Not because of healing. This text isn’t about healing. No, our text this morning is about something far more important than that.

II. SETTING

One of the first things we notice in this story is the four guys who bring their friend to Jesus. They clearly cared about their friend. They loved this guy - they carried him on his bed from home to where Jesus was preaching in hopes that he might be healed. When they arrive, they can't get in - there were so many people there that the house was packed like a can of sardines. They can't push through, and the people in the crowd are either unable or unwilling to let them through to see Jesus.

Some people might have given up there, or at least waited until the crowd left. Not these guys. They are absolutely determined to get their friend to help, and they are not willing to wait. So they climb up on the roof. Back in 1968, archaeologists discovered in the remains of Capernaum the foundations of what’s probably Peter’s house, underneath the ruins of a fifth-century church. The house dated from the second century before Christ, and was actually a miniature complex of about seven or eight small, single-story rooms surrounding a couple of small courtyards. My guess is that Jesus had started teaching inside one of them and then all the rooms in the house, and the courtyards, had filled up with people.

So, Jesus was inside one of these rooms. One or two stories above his head would be the roof – which would probably have been flat with a ladder or staircase going up to it. People could rest on the roof in nice weather, kind of like a deck or a porch on a modern house, and sometimes people would even sleep up there. The roof would have been made of crisscrossing wooden beams, thatched by branches, and sealed with a layer of dried clay on top. There might have been a form of clay shingling. So, while it could support someone's weight pretty well, it was easy to dig through. And literally that's what the Greek says - they "unroofed the roof above him, and having dug it out, lowered the bed" to Jesus.

Just imagine that for a moment. It's like all of a sudden, dirt starts falling down on Jesus' head. Everyone looks up, and a peephole of light has appeared in the roof, and cracks are forming all around it. Suddenly, a couple of fingers poke through, grab at the edge of the hole, and rip the hole wider. More dirt falls, and more hands start grasping, pulling, tearing away. I figure the sermon must have stopped at that point, as everyone - Jesus included - stares at this hole being ripped in the roof. How would you guys react, if all of a sudden a hole got ripped in the roof right over my head? I wonder what Peter and his family was thinking, as this gaping hole in their house kept widening above their heads? And this was no small hole - they would have needed a pretty big one, like six feet or so, to lower the bed down through it without unceremoniously dropping their already paralyzed buddy into the crowd below. The rooms in this house they dug up aren’t that big, and so they basically did exactly what the text literally says—over that room, they very much “unroofed the roof,” taking pretty much the whole thing off. I can just picture that - hotheaded Peter yelling at these guys to stop, trying to get to the door to get out to the roof, but as unable to leave the house as these guys were to enter it.

These four guys, whose names we don't know, were willing to go to any lengths to get their friend to Jesus - up to the point of destroying someone's house to do it. Jesus sees that. He sees what that spirit indicates - these guys believe. Probably not in the sense we mean today - they didn't know the details and depth of what Christ's life would later reveal. But they knew, somehow, that Jesus was from God, and that He could help their friend. They had faith. Simple faith. Nothing else. And you know what? That’s all they needed.

APPLICATION

Even though this isn’t the main point of our text, there’s still an application we can draw here. These guys came with no sacrifices, no money. No good deeds—in fact, they destroyed someone’s roof. They earned nothing from Jesus; in fact, by wrecking his friends’ house, they arguably put themselves in debt even further. They came with nothing but their need, bringing nothing to their credit, nothing that would incline Jesus to grant their request. It’s an illustration of saving faith.

III. COMPASSION

So the dust has cleared. The dirt has stopped falling from what's left of the ceiling. And here's this paralytic lying on a bed in front of Jesus, with his four friends' faces peering down from the ragged hole above. What's Jesus going to do? Is He going to heal him? Is He going to be angry? Is He going to laugh? Jesus looks upon the man, and he says, "Your sins are forgiven."

That's probably not what anyone was expecting. First, the guy can't walk. Everyone knew that. That's a pretty big need. He was totally dependent on others, unable to work, unable to do anything. He would not be considered suitable for marriage by the family of any eligible woman. And they didn't have electric wheelchairs or anything like that back then. This was one of the worst things that could happen to a person in the ancient world. A paralytic in those days was helpless. Didn't Jesus see that? Why is he worried about sins, when the poor guy can't even walk?

I had a Nigerian classmate in seminary who told me a proverb once from his own country: “A starving man has no ears.” Yes, sometimes a physical need is so immediate it must be dealt with first. But that does not mean that physical needs are more important. Physical needs can never be as important as spiritual needs, because while this physical world will one day pass away and be made anew, spiritual things cannot be destroyed. Needs like hunger and injury and disease are very real and very painful, but in the Christian view they are also very temporary. They will not last forever. Spiritual hunger is another matter.

Jesus here reminded His audience - and that includes us - that the problems of this life and this world go far deeper than the skin, far deeper than even nerves and bone and marrow. The problems of this world find their root cause in human sin. The man on the litter was not only in great physical need, but in even greater spiritual need. His paralysis kept him from work and livelihood; his spiritual state kept him from eternal life and relationship with God. More than anything else, more than even his desperate need to be able to walk and work, this man needed his sins forgiven. He needed to be put right with God.

What if Jesus had stopped here? What if He had simply forgiven the man's sin and sent him on his way, still paralyzed? How would people have reacted? What would they have said? "Why didn't you heal him?" they would have said. And they would have missed the real healing. See, modern medical science can do wonders. Doctors can't usually heal paralysis, but they are starting to find ways to regenerate nerve tissue. It's possible that cures for paraplegia and quadriplegia might happen in our lifetime. While not possible back then, it is entirely possible that man may one day have the power to heal people like this paralytic. But no man will ever wield the power to reconcile God to sinful men. No man will ever be able to repair the damage caused by sin or to put an end to death. No man - except Jesus.

What if Jesus had stopped? Those who would ask, "Why didn't you heal him?" would miss the real healing that had taken place. They would have missed the true miracle that Jesus had wrought. Raising a paralytic? That's simple by comparison.

APPLICATION

What if Jesus had stopped here? You might say to me, "Well, He didn't. The text tells us He didn't. So why does it matter?" It matters because it happens every day. There’s an application here for all of us. For me personally. I have three herniated discs in my lower back. The day may come when I won't be able to pick up my kids when they want me to. I have asked God, again and again, to heal me. I have prayed. Repeatedly. To this day, He has not. And my case is so trivial compared to others, who are facing great pain and suffering, and to whom God has said, in answer to their prayers for healing, "Your sins are forgiven. As for your illness - not yet. Not yet. My strength is made perfect in your weakness." In so many cases, Jesus does stop at, "Your sins are forgiven." And a characteristic of Christian maturity is this: accepting that that is enough. Faith looks to Christ for forgiveness, and trusts Him with healing and all the rest in His time. Christ cares enough to heal the soul, because there is all eternity to heal the body and make things right.

IV. CONFRONTATION

But in this case, that's not the whole story. We haven’t got to the main point of the passage yet. Some people were appalled that Jesus forgave the man's sins. Not because they thought it was insensitive, or that Jesus was being cruel, or that Jesus was blind to the man's need. Some scribes were sitting there. These were the theologians of the day, experts in the Scriptures. They were trained in reading and interpreting the Biblical text, and in the huge body of tradition and commentary that had grown around it. See, the Scriptures were written in Hebrew, but what is easy to forget is that in Jesus' day, Hebrew was not the first language of the Jews. Jesus' first language was most likely not Hebrew. It was almost certainly Aramaic. Ever since the exile in Babylon, the Jewish people had spoken Aramaic in daily life, and Hebrew was a religious language. And so, while most Jews knew some Hebrew and heard it recited weekly in the synagogue, the reading and interpretation of Scripture had become the special domain of a class of experts. It's like back before the Reformation, when the Catholic Church did everything in Latin - well, this had to be explained to the common people. That's what the scribes did in Jesus' day - they explained the Bible in ways the people could understand.

So, some of these scribes are sitting here during the sermon, and when Jesus pronounced the man's sin forgiven, they were appalled. "Blasphemy!" they think. Why? You don't need to be an expert to understand why, because the text goes on to tell us: “Who an forgive sins but God alone?”

The scribes weren’t wrong in that. The problem wasn’t their understanding of God and forgiveness. Their problem was their unwillingness to see that Jesus fulfilled the very texts they had given their lives to studying. At least part of this is because Jesus was a threat to them. A couple years back I preached from Mark 1, verses 21-34. In that sermon, we saw how Jesus taught with authority. Rather than timidly offering his opinion, and rather than submitting to the man-made traditions of the rabbis in interpreting the Bible, Jesus taught as one who had authority. This probably already rankled the scribes - taking such authority for himself. This was the same thing, but made much more blatant.

Now, Jesus didn't say, "I forgive your sins." He used a passive voice - "Your sins are forgiven you." Those of you who remember the first sermons I preached from Mark might remember that I mentioned how the Jews, out of fear of using God's name in vain, avoided saying God did anything. They used a "divine passive" instead. That's what Jesus is doing here - he is declaring that God has forgiven this man's sins. Any Jew would immediately recognize that this is Jesus' meaning. Why were the scribes upset, then? Because Jesus wasn't offering a mere opinion, he was saying it with authority. That is a prophetic claim. Even more than being a prophet, though, Jesus was making the astounding claim to be privy to the will of God, to know the thoughts and intentions of God. The scribes immediately recognized that Jesus, claiming to know such things, and knowing them certainly, was essentially declaring himself to be equal with God.

The thing is, they were right. In Luke 10:22, Jesus himself declares that “no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Why does only the Son know the Father? Why can’t we know the Father unless the Son reveals him to us? Because, as Jesus says in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus isn’t just another rabbi or teacher. Jesus knows the very mind of God, Jesus can forgive sins against God, because Jesus is one with God.

And here we come to the main point of our passage. This is why Mark records this story. This story is not actually about healing at all. It's about forgiveness. More to the point, it's about Jesus' authority to forgive. Who can forgive sins but God alone? the scribes asked. Well, no one can forgive sins but God alone, it’s true. Yet Jesus is claiming to forgive them anyway. And so, the scribes, in their heart, are challenging Jesus' authority.

Don’t miss the fact that this text, this story, is the first time in the book of Mark that Jesus' authority has been challenged. These scribes were the first to object to Jesus’ authority, to reject who Jesus presented himself to be. Even the demons didn't question that!

Jesus knows the heart, however. He knows the scribes are questioning him. An interesting fact about our Lord Jesus is that he often didn’t answer questions directly. Here, as he so often does elsewhere, he answers this question with another question. He challenges them. He says, "Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, and take up your pallet, and walk'?"

Think about that question, and try to put yourself in their shoes. If you are a Christian, you know what forgiveness costs. You know how hard it is - that God Himself had to become a man and die in order to bring forgiveness about. From a Christian perspective, the answer seems so easy. What’s harder, to forgive or to heal? "Your sins are forgiven," of course. That's harder.
Except that's not the question! Jesus isn't asking, "Is it easier to forgive, or to heal?" No, Jesus is asking, "Is it easier to say your sins are forgiven, or to say rise and walk?" That's the question. It's not about ability. It’s about proof. And when the question is put like that, the answer changes. If it’s about proof, if it’s about which is harder to say, the correct answer is, it's easier to say that the man's forgiven. Why? Because, if you’re watching Jesus, if you’re hearing him say “you’re forgiven,” well, you can't verify that. You aren’t privy to God’s thoughts. You don’t know the man and his relationship to God. If Jesus says to this man, “your sins are forgiven,” then from a human perspective—from our perspective--it can't be proven or disproven, by human means at least. But, it would be far harder to say "Get up and walk" because that can be disproven. That can be verified. If you say that, the guy better stand up and walk. Even the so-called faith healers on TV know this, which is why they try so hard not to let people with actual, visible illnesses up on stage with them.

And remember - to the Jewish mind, physical illness and sin were closely connected. The Law promised blessings to those who kept the law and curses to those who broke it. Remember, in John 9:2, how the disciples once asked Jesus about a blind man, "Who sinned - this man or his parents?" Several Biblical passages show a connection between sin and sickness, and between forgiveness and healing. Look at Psalm 103:2-3, which parallels and thus in a sense equates forgiveness and healing – “Blessed be the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.” Look at Hosea 4, which describes God’s promise to “heal” Israel’s apostasy. God told His people in Second Chronicles 7:14 that “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Psalm 147 says of God that he heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The Old Testament clearly links physical healing to forgiveness – often healing is a demonstration that forgiveness has in fact taken place. Now, that doesn't mean that every illness is punishment for sin. But it does mean that every illness and disease and injury has its ultimate root in human sin. And it does mean that true, lasting physical healing requires sin to be dealt with. That's why the Cross defeated death - because it defeated sin.

So when Jesus heals this man, it's not just a demonstration of his power. It's a vindication of his authority to forgive sin. Jesus healing a paralytic is a statement that Jesus can deal with sin as well as sickness. This is why healings are often called "signs" - because they are signs of the forgiveness of sin having arrived in the world. There's a reason that spectacular healings and other great miracles seem clustered around certain periods of revelation in the Bible, and especially around Jesus and the apostles. Healings are not an end in themselves. They point to something greater - the defeat of sin and the purchase of forgiveness.

APPLICATION

There’s another application for us today. There’s a whole lot of people out there who sell spectacle. Who market miracles. Who define the “real” Christian life as one of signs and wonders. There are entire TV networks and magazines and thousands of churches that are devoted to this. Maybe you’re drawn to that. Maybe some of you have been taught, have come to believe, that the highest and best Christian life is a miraculous and spectacular life, filled with signs and wonders. If that’s you, you need to be very careful, because you’re missing the very point of the miracles you are trying to chase. Signs and wonders are never an end in themselves. Don’t forget that Jesus himself refused to give signs when asked, and refrained from healing in towns that rejected him. Jesus’ miracles were not an end in themselves. They pointed to something greater. They pointed away from themselves to the God who did something even greater than healing paralytics—the God who became a man, who lived a sinless life that we could never live, who died in our place, who absorbed divine wrath against sin, and who triumphed over sin and death by rising from the dead. They pointed away from themselves to the God who does even greater miracles today—changing stubborn hearts, saving rebel sinners, granting faith to the faithless, giving repentance to hardened sinners. So that’s an application. Don’t chase miracles. Don’t come seeking a sign as the Jews did. Hear the Word that gives life and chase after Christ instead.

V. IMPLICATIONS

By raising the paralytic, Jesus proved that He had the authority and power not just to heal disease, but to forgive sins. And while Jesus didn't directly claim to personally forgive sins at first, when he simply said, "Your sins are forgiven," He does directly claim it at the end, when he says: "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." That term, the "Son of Man," comes from Daniel 7, so let’s turn there. Daniel 7—I’m going to read verses 9 & 10, and 13 & 14.

“As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.
….and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel describes a person presented to the Ancient of Days—to God himself. One “like a Son of Man.” This Son of Man is given what? An everlasting dominion and glory and who is served by all the nations. Everlasting dominion, an indestructible kingdom, service by every tribe, tongue, and nation, and glory from the throne of the Ancient of Days. These are all things normally reserved for God alone. In fact, Isaiah 42: 8 tells us that God will not give His glory to another.
Whoever this Son of Man is, then, He has the rights and prerogatives of God Himself. How can He be somehow distinct from God and yet be God? That's why Christians believe in the Trinity - one being who is three persons. Jesus claims here, and many places elsewhere, to be the Son of Man. That is huge - the term Son of Man, in its context in Daniel, is far more explicit a claim to be God than the term Son of God. Jesus is saying, "I am the Son of Man, and I have the authority to forgive sins." Unspoken, but perhaps crystal clear to the horrified scribes, is the implication Jesus is making. Jesus is saying to them, to the people in the house, to us, to the world: I am equal with God - I am God in the flesh. This is the point of Daniel 7. This is the point of Mark 2, verses 1 to 12, the point of our text. And so this is my main point this morning. Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, who has authority to forgive sins—because he is God.

Biblical faith is not faith in Jesus as a mere man, though He is a man. Hundreds of dying churches and seminaries around North America and Europe pay lip service to a human Christ who is a great moral example and ethical teacher, but whose demands to be different from the world and to despise sin are too much for their modern (or postmodern) stomachs to tolerate. That’s a lie. Jesus is fully human, yes, but he is not merely human. If Christ was only human, he could not pay the price for sin, and he could not promise resurrection or judgment of evil - and so a merely human Christ offers no hope.

A couple weeks ago, a major evangelical seminary made the national news because it placed one of its professors under discipline. Why? Because she said, “Muslims and Christians worship the same God.” No. We don’t. And I’m actually quite concerned about the number of Christians who seem to be getting shaky or trying to find nuance in this. Christians and Muslims have utterly different conceptions of God. Muslims, like these scribes, believe that Jesus was a mere man. Muslims, like these scribes, deny that Jesus is one with the Father. Muslims do not worship Jesus Christ as God. Muslims don’t believe God became a man and that God, even now, at this moment, is incarnate as a man in the person of Jesus Christ. Don’t believe the lie that all religions are the same or that they all worship the same God. The God we serve as Christians, the God we proclaim here in this church, from this pulpit, out of this Word, is utterly unique. And utterly alone as God. There is no other.

Biblical faith - true faith - believes Jesus is God. It looks to Christ just as these men did - as the One who has the power to save. As the One who can actually do what He says. As the One who proved, once and for all time, that He truly does have power over sin by living a perfect life, that He truly does have power over death by rising from the grave.

VI. CONCLUSION

Jesus was resisted not because he had great power – after all, the crowds flocked to that power, looking for healing and other benefits. Jesus was resisted because he dared to assert his own authority. He dared to interpret the Law without regard for human tradition. Moreover, he declared his own equality with God.

A Jesus who speaks with authority scares people. I’ve made that point before. Jesus came preaching a Gospel of repentance and self-denying faith, a Gospel centred on and pointing to Himself as the only way to God. That is the same Gospel we as Christians are called to preach – the same message we should be living and sharing with the world. If this message, this statement of Jesus’ authority and humanity’s obligation to submit and believe and obey, got Jesus killed, if he was resisted by the authorities of the time early on because of this message, we can be sure that our message will be opposed by many.

A tame, merely human Jesus is something that everyone wants to claim for themselves. Muslims see him as merely a great figure in a line of prophets. Ba’hais count him as merely one of a series of God’s appointed revelators, along with Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, and others. Mormons pay lip service to his divine nature but diminish his holiness and his difference from ourselves by referring to him as just our “older brother.” Even atheists admire his ethical teaching while disparaging the supernatural in His life.

When Jesus is proclaimed to be God, then people resist. If Jesus is God, then the command to men not to lust after women in our hearts stops being merely good advice--it becomes a command that absolutely must be obeyed. If Jesus is God, his command to follow him and not look back is no longer a pious platitude for the super-spiritual—it’s an obligation for us all, our marching orders. If Jesus is God, all of Jesus’ talk about hell and demons and Satan and judgment and God’s wrath can no longer be cavalierly dismissed as relics of ancient ignorance or ignored as embarrassing, old-fashioned superstition—instead, they become terrifying realities in a world much larger and more complicated than people really understand.

The fact that Jesus claimed authority for himself with his words is bad enough. But when he went the next step and demonstrated his authority to do so by healing this paralytic, he became to many a monumental threat to human self-sufficiency and pride. A Jesus who is a great human teacher can be dismissed or ignored. But a Jesus who is God cannot be dismissed or ignored. A Jesus who is God cannot be denied.

This Jesus is calling to you today, right now. If you believe in him, if you belong to him, he is calling you to follow him. To imitate his example, to forgive others as you have been forgiven, to look to the forgiveness he provides as being enough for you. If you don’t know this Jesus, if you have not yet put your trust in him, please don’t wait. Jesus is no mere man. He’s not a long-dead guru like Buddha or Mohammed whose words will one day fade into history along with him. This Jesus is the Son of Man, who is one with God. He owns you and demands your allegiance, whether you believe in him or not. He has been given dominion and glory and a kingdom, and one day your knee will bow to him—willingly, or unwillingly, it’s going to happen. See, you’re a sinner, just like me, just like everyone here. You have offended God in many ways. You have rebelled against him, like everyone else. If you don’t recognize that, if you persist in living life your own way and relying on yourself, then your sins are not forgiven. That should terrify you, because if your sins are unforgiven you will pay for them yourself, over an eternity in hell. That’s what the Bible says. That’s what Jesus himself said, more than anyone else in the Bible. So if you haven’t reckoned with Jesus yet, please do so. Call out to him. Abandon all hope in anything you can do, give up any idea you can be good enough, and trust that Jesus is good enough instead. Trust that his sacrifice on the Cross paid for all your sin, and that his resurrection guarantees your eternal life. You are as unable to save yourself as this paralytic was able to walk. But Jesus can save you, just as he did that man two thousand years ago. Believe in this Jesus, who forgave the paralytic, and he will forgive you.