Last week as we opened this series, we talked about the power of the Risen Jesus to turn around our lives, from going in a totally wrong direction, to a right direction. Instead of standing before God in fear, in Christ we can stand before God without fear of judgment and death. Today we will look at how Jesus wants to heal us: not just on the outside, but on the inside, and to do that we’ll look at Jesus’ healing of the paralyzed man in his home base in Capernaum. Read Mark 2:1-11. In this episode, Jesus forgives the paralyzed man’s sins first, before healing his body. He is making a point: that he came to this earth first and foremost to forgive sin. We’ve all been wounded as a result of sin: both from original sin, passed down to all humanity; and our own personal sin, our own choices or omissions which hurt ourselves first, then others. It’s been said that “hurt people hurt people.” We have many “arrows” directed at our hearts from our childhood. Everybody, without exception, often thinks and acts more than we want to admit out of our wounded hearts rather than out of love and freedom. Sin always has an effect that goes outward, more than we’re probably aware. The implications of Jesus’ words and actions in this episode, healing the paralyzed man, are that it’s harder to heal our hearts and souls than to heal anything physical.
Sometimes we’ll come to Jesus in prayer, asking for help with something else which is really circumstantial, and he will instead reveal the underlying wound so to heal our hearts. We’ll come asking him for help with problems with our finances; anger towards our spouse, our children, our boss, our coworkers that’s not proportionate to the situation; exaggeration about our past accomplishments; tendencies to gossip, envy, or gluttony; past sexual sin; and a host of other things that we may struggle with. Often we keep repeating and replaying these attitudes and sinful behaviors over and over. These thoughts and attitudes are circumstantial, but there is a need for an inner healing, which is always intensely personal. God can and will use these circumstances in our lives in order to heal our hearts and souls. All we have to do is to be open. We have to be open to him healing us. Questions for small groups:
Do you think of yourself as having wounds in your heart and soul? What is your reaction to the assertion, we all have wounds?
Read aloud Mark 2:8-11. What does this tell us about what Jesus wants to do for us?
When was the last time you got very angry or upset or frustrated? Was it justified or was it a small thing that hints at a wound?
What needs or desires have you been bringing to God in prayer? How might God use that need to bring healing to your heart or soul?
Hurt people hurt people, but healed people heal people. How does dealing with our own wounds set us up to help others?