When I first came to Regeneration 10 years ago, I was interested in one thing: Getting rid of my sexual sin. God was interested in something else. Yes, He wanted to lead me to sexual purity, but He also had in mind addressing areas of my life fundamentally much more important than just stopping sin. And addressing these areas would take more time and energy than I had initially planned to give.
In Mark 2, we read about a paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus. We don’t know much about this man, but when he and his friends arrived where Jesus was teaching, they couldn’t get in the door because the place was so packed. It must have been like showing up early to see a much anticipated show, only to find that a flood of others were already there. But for this man, it wasn’t a show. He was missing his one chance to ever be able to walk.
Have you ever felt like that? Perhaps you’ve struggled with homosexuality for years and feel you’ve missed your chance to have a family. Or your extramarital affair has torn apart your marriage and it looks hopeless to restore. Or because of your sexual sin you’ve been asked to step down from a position in ministry.
Fortunately for this man, his friends weren’t going to let a hundred other needy people stand in their way. They climbed onto the roof, hoisted him up, cleared a way, and lowered him down in front of Jesus. This was a pretty brazen move. Jesus was speaking to a large crowd but these guys didn’t wait. They cut in line. They interrupted Jesus’ message and dropped their friend onto center stage. They were desperate,
and they knew what they were after.
What happens next is significant. Jesus looks at the paralyzed man and says simply, “My son, your sins are forgiven you.” Now our attention at this point is usually drawn to the Scribes grumbling about Jesus’ audacity to forgive sins. But let’s stick with the paralyzed man here. What’s going on in his mind? How do you think he felt when, after all this trouble, Jesus responded to him by telling him he was forgiven?
My guess is that he was deeply disappointed. In that day and age, it was common belief that chronic illnesses or disabilities were God’s judgment on people of noteworthy sin. But this man had come to be healed, not forgiven. He wanted to walk. He didn’t want to continue to suffer with paralysis day after day, year after year. He wanted to live life as a man among men, not a cripple among the healthy.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you prayed and prayed for change, only to wake up again to another day of temptation? Have you come to support groups, read books, tried everything you know, and still you don’t have that which you want the most?
But Jesus knew something this man didn’t, and perhaps something you don’t. Jesus knew not only what this man so desperately wanted but also what he so desperately needed. Walking is great, and God’s original intent for him was that he’d be able to walk. But restoring this man’s ability to walk was not the most important thing to Jesus.
Why have you come? Do you want healing? The unmanageability in your life to go away? A change in sexual orientation? What if Jesus’ priorities are different than your own? What if, as He is looking at your life, there are other things on His “To Do List” that take priority over removing your sexual struggles? Will you take your eyes off your goals and realign them with His? Will you press on or will you give up?
Eventually, Jesus spoke the words the paralyzed man had been hoping and waiting to hear: “Take up your mat and go home.” What are the words you long to hear? Keep coming to Him, keep climbing, keep laying yourself before Him. There is no better place to be than lying before the One who holds healing in His hand. Jesus knows what you want. And He knows what you need.
By Josh Glaser
Originally Published February 2006