The Gospel Of Mark

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

"God’s aggressive grace, unmerited favor and love"

Mark 2 tells how one man’s greatest concern pales next to Jesus’ far-greater compassion:
Jesus comes back to Capernaum, and the news spreads that he is at home.

Jesus was teaching God’s message in a home. Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where He was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5, NCV

Notice that neither the paralytic, nor his buddies, asked for forgiveness. They went to great lengths in their quest for physical healing. The man allowed his homies to lug him across town to a Bible study in a house because he heard the guest rabbi was a healer.

Wouldn’t you love to know what the paralyzed man was thinking in that moment?

If only I could walk again, everything would be OK, had surely crossed the paralytic’s mind more than once. But our Savior knew that desire wasn’t remotely big enough. He knew fixing the man’s legs wouldn’t fix the gaping hole in his heart. So the Messiah went beyond the paralytic’s immediate comprehension of need. Jesus dispensed forgiveness—a prescription paid for with His own blood.

The thing that slays me is the fact that Jesus forgave the paralytic and the dude didn’t even repent! In fact, as best I can tell, this is the only encounter in the Gospels when Jesus’ redemption wasn’t somehow associated with repentance, either professed by the sinner or commanded by Christ Himself, like when He lavishly forgave the chick caught in adultery, adding the admonition, “Go, and from now on sin no more” when He sent her on her way (John 8:11b).

So does that mean Mark was attempting to vault over a compulsory doctrinal element or pervert salvific principles? Nope. Jesus was so incredibly eager to restore the paralytic into a right relationship with his Heavenly Father that He preempted the guy’s repentance (which Jesus foreknew because He’s omnipotent) with mercy. The idea of Jesus pursuing me with aggressive grace puts me in the mood to admit my mistakes much faster! How do you see His aggressive grace in your life today?

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