<< Mark II: The Palsied Man >>
THE Lord had been away from Capernaum for a time, but had come back again to the little town by the sea, which was called His home. The people had seen a great many signs of His wonderful kindness and power. He had healed in their synagogue, and when the sun set they had come about the house and been healed of many sicknesses. They heard that He was there, and came again to find Him. The multitude pressed about the door. We think of a house not very different from that in Cana where the marriage feast was held, when the Lord made the water wine. It was a low house of perhaps two stories, built about a courtyard. The doors and windows of the house opened upon this court and a gate-way led to it from the street. Perhaps around the court, opening from the rooms of the second floor, there was a balcony shaded by a light roof where the Lord was standing. Near Him in the chamber or on the balcony Pharisees and doctors olf the law were sitting, who had come from distant places, listening and watching sharply, ready to find fault. The court below was full of eager people, and the gate-way which opened from the street.
Among those who heard that the Lord was there were the friends of a man sick of the palsy, and they came, four of them, carrying the light couch or mat on which he lay. Palsy is paralysis, a disease in which one cannot move or cannot control his motions. The poor man who was brought to the Lord seems to have been unable to move at all. If his friends could only bring him to the Lord He would surely help him.
There were usually stairs on the outside of the house leading to the flat roof, and often the houses were built in such a way that one could walk from one roof to another. The roofs in that country are made by laying long level rafters, across these short sticks, on these brush, and on this a layer of mud which is rolled hard. They climbed to the roof, perhaps by an outer stair, and from it they could reach the lighter tiling or thatch over the balcony where we think of the Lord as standing. They uncovered it, and let the sick man down before the Lord. See them tenderly lowering the bed, the Pharisees sitting by watching, the crowd in the court below with eager faces. The Lord spoke to the sick man, “and immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.” Read the story, and the words which the Lord spoke when He healed the palsied man.
And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.—Mark II.1-12.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
House >> The state of mind in which we habitually are
Lower rooms >> External states
Large upper room >> Interior states, near the Lord
Closet with closed doors >> Where we find the Lord in prayer
Housetop >> Inmost affection, of most earnest desire, where we find safety in troubled times
Taking the sick man to the housetop to reach the Lord >> “Ye shall find Me when ye shall seek for Me with all your heart.”
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum