THE ROOF SMASHERS
Gather together a small stack of Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, or other news magazines. Page through the magazines and look for evidence in ads, articles, or pictures that we live in a messed-up world.
Read Mark 2:1—12
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying. “We have never seen anything like this!”
1. By this point Jesus is already getting a reputation as a great teacher and healer. How do the people of Capernaum respond to him when he arrives?
2. Imagine you are a person in the house where Jesus was teaching. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, and emotion.
3. What extreme lengths were the paralytic’s friends willing to go to in order to get him to Jesus? What does this tell you about their attitude toward Jesus?
4. Judging by Jesus’ reaction to the paralytic being let down, what did he see as the paralytic’s greatest need, and why?
Today we often overestimate our own righteousness because we compare ourselves to other humans. But if we were to compare ourselves to God’s moral perfection, we might grade ourselves a little lower. In order to understand something about God’s standards, take a look at this “sin list”:1