Mark 2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."
If the key to the text is faith, and the healing of faith is centered in the forgiveness of sins, the center of the forgiveness of sins is in the person of Jesus Christ. Once you see who Jesus is, which is the Word opening our hearts and minds, the Spirit works faith in our hearts. And that is often where we stop, it’s a good place to stop, because it covers the basics - It guides people to the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ - It give comfort and peace.
And yet there is something more to the text, because besides all the wonderful things about the forgiveness of sin, freedom from sin death and the devil, and everlasting life. Faith is what makes the church, and our text has a wonderful example of the faith of the Church in action.
Consider if you will, if you had a friend who was ill, bedridden. It we needed to move them, we call the ambulance, if its an emergency, they have medical planes and helicopters too. How did the people of faith bring their friend to Jesus?
It wasn’t just prayer - They picked up his bed and carried him to the place where Jesus was. That’s faith, it moves people to action, it changes us. But the problem was that there were so many people they couldn’t get close - But they didn’t give up! And again faith moves them to action, when the door is closed, as it were, They go through the roof.
We need to be reminded about such things today, as often the door seems closed. We need to begin thinking creatively - How can we bring those in need to Jesus? There are some who think this is a new concept, and there are plenty of management seminars designed to get people to think outside the box, and this is where the idea comes from, it is part of the toolkit that God gave to the church, so that we may have what we need to bring people to the Savior. That is why we are here.
Its not really such a problem, God gives everything necessary – and its not much to either receive the gifts, or to use the gifts we have been given. We trust in the grace of God to guide us.
Faith will show us the openings, we never would have noticed otherwise. But the one thing you do need to get over is the old excuse, we’ve never done it that way before. After all, in and through Baptism you became a new creation – why in the world would you want to go back to doing things the "old" way?
The church is a wonderful thing. God builds the church, God preserves the church, God prepares the way, God even places the gracious invitation to come into their hearts – Our task is to guide them along the way, not by ourselves, but by the grace of God, by the guidance of the scripture, and by the power of the Word.
The church is not a building, it is the people, People who share one thing in common, they are gathered around the cross, the symbol of God’s great love, and sign for the forgiveness of sins which is ours in Jesus Christ. There is a long history in the church of people going through the roof – Guttenberg thought that it would be good to use the printing press to make copies of the Bible. Luther thought it would be good to have the Bible in the language of the people. WA Meyer thought it would be good to use the radio to bring Christ to the nations. In each case, it had never been done that way before – they, as it were, went through the roof, just as the 4 faithful friends did in our lesson today. Where did it come from? In each case, God showed them the way, in the same way he will guide and direct us as we also seek to live the faith we believe, and to guide the lost to the only hope of salvation – Jesus Christ our Lord.