Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sickness and Sin: William Lane weighs in

Jesus is teaching in a house when four guys tear open the roof and lower down their paralyzed friend. Clearly they believe Jesus can heal the immobilized man. After shaking the dirt off his robe, how does Jesus respond? Check it out:

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. (Mark 2:4-5)

What? Who said anything about sin? The guy needed to be healed. It had to be a shocking statement to hear Jesus utter. Maybe sickness and sin are related in a way our modern, enlightened, minds fear to consider? Of course, Jesus was purposely speaking and acting to make a statement to the scribes and pharisees witnessing the events as part of an investigative committee spying on His ministry. As you probably know, Jesus then proceeds to heal the man's paralysis showing He has authority to forgive sins and heal bodies. He is Lord of all.

William Lane offers valuable perspective on this miracle of Christ-

“Healing is a gracious movement of God into the sphere of withering and decay which are the tokens of death at work in a man’s life. It was not God’s intention that man should live with the pressure of death upon him. Sickness, disease and death are the consequence of the sinful condition of all men. Consequently every healing is a driving back of death and an invasion of the province of sin. That is why it is appropriate for Jesus to proclaim the remission of sins. It is unnecessary to think of a corresponding sin for each instance of sickness; there is no suggestion in the narrative that the paralytic’s physical suffering was related to a specific sin or was due to hysteria induced by guilt. Jesus pronouncement of pardon is the recognition that man can be genuinely whole only when the breach occasioned by sin has been healed through God’s forgiveness of sins.”


Michael Lockridge said...

Like so many other things, this relationship between sin and sickness gets unbalanced and misunderstood.

I think the perspective you have shared is well balanced. Thanks for sharing.

Woody Woodward said...

This moving story of sheer determination to SEE Jesus no matter what reminds me of the similar story ion Luke 19, the story of old Zaccheus. Even though he was short in stature, he was going to see Jesus and nothing was going to get in his way! But unlike this story, instead of being lowered down to see Jesus, old Zacc climbed above his problems and as Jesus providentially passed by , He stopped what He was doing, looked up and spoke to him by name, telling him to come down and don’t put it off! And as Mark so often mentioned in his Gospel account, IMMEDIATELY, he came down and on this day, the Creator of the world was going to dine with him!~ IMMEDIATELY, the terrible sinner was forever transformed.