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Reflections On “A Ransom For Many” — 3

Updated: May 17, 2020

Daniel Tan

Mark 2:1-3:6

Mired in decades of paralysis and suffering, a paralytic sees the aid of his four friends who lowered him down to the teacher.

Supposedly this new rabbi was able to heal any and every disease. At this point, even a sliver of hope was worth more than simply waiting for the day of reckoning to arrive. Yet the words this person would say were not simply “you are healed”. Rather, he told the paralytic that his very sins were forgiven, something that was even stranger than simple healing. Sins were not for humanity to forgive; but the priests and holy people had for so long told him his condition was because of either his sins or the sins of his parents. To have those forgiven was almost better than being able to walk. Then he rose and walked. A double miracle.

Jesus remarks that it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick. Which seems like a very obvious statement but there was deeper meaning there. In Psychology, we often say that you can't help those who do not wish to be helped. I think there are healthy people and there are people who think they are healthy. You've definitely seen people who go around as if nothing is wrong and people continuously ask them to go see a doctor. Yet still there are others that know they are sick and go to the doctor for treatment. Jesus comes for those people. The people who recognise that there is something wrong in their lives and that something needs to change. Not the people who do not feel like there is anything wrong. But in light of the COVID situation and the asymptomatic cases, can we really claim that those who see no visible problems are truly well?

The Pharisees were quick to dismiss and even oppose Jesus’ supposedly sacrilegious acts of healing on the Sabbath. Before he did so, Jesus simply asked whether it was lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath. There was a discussion that if a donkey should fall into a well, one should either save it directly or indirectly save the donkey. But the conclusion was always to save the donkey, since it was an important part of life. Yet the Pharisees were so conceited in their traditions and laws that their hearts became callous to the suffering around them. That was the reason Jesus was so infuriated with them. They had gone the opposite direction of their immoral ancestors and became perhaps even worse in their unbreakable laws.

There will be opposition in the world no matter how much you try to help people. That is a fact of life. Some people refuse help and take offence while others are likely to stab you in the back for it. Yet others might try to stop you from doing so because of reasons that are societal or personal. Heck, even Christians may become almost Pharisaical in their methods. No matter the case though, as Jesus remarks “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. If we forget the root of the traditions and we forget the root of God's compassion, arguments like what the Pharisees made may seem valid.

Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted. Godliness is antithetical to the way that the world works. Some people might even have harsher approaches than simply berating your seemingly unnecessary ‘holy’ lifestyle. But the Lord will stand by us and deliver us if we are truly pressed beyond our means. It is not an easy path to walk, but at the very least God tries to make the road easier for us; not just with his strength that he provides but also with the people around us. The paralytic had friends who were willing to carry and lower him down. As Christians we too have a duty to carry and lower down those who are less able but more needing of Jesus' grace and mercy.

Daniel Tan

Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections.

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