“And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:1-12
Present at ‘The Healing of The Paralytic’ faith event were Scribes, the office of which plays a major role in the teaching ministry of Jesus. To be sure, many of the most radical sayings that place Jesus in direct conflict with those things that were established in both the religious and national life were pronounced as a direct result of the probing and questioning of the Scribes. Such is the case on this occasion.
The person and position of the Scribe has already been made clear by Jesus in his ‘Sermon On The Mount’ where he tells ‘the following’ and ever growing multitude that “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribe… you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
When I was studying Old Testament Literature, I came upon a picture of an ancient Egyptian Scribe. The discussion centered around his life’s commitment to the transmission of faith. His papyrus was hand made using the reed plant from the Nile; the finished scrolls of which are still being view today. One of our professors asked the class what direction we would take in ministry? I replied, “I want to be a scribe!”
Ezra was a scrivener, “skilled in the Laws of Moses”, whose responsibility for the transmission of faith came at a time of exile. His people were displaced, disenfranchised, disinherited— (among other ‘dises’), when the King wrote that “Ezra had the wisdom of (his) God in his hand…”
It must be borne in mind that there is no ‘written word’ for Jesus to ‘rise and read in the synagogue’ in his ‘bar mitzvah’ days— without the scribe.
Most conscious, then, of the presence of the scribes, Jesus’ pronouncement to the Paralytic takes a radical turn as all three Gospel writer’s record him saying, “your sins are forgiven!” In the midst of a healing faith ministry, Jesus takes the opportunity (with scribes present) to deliver a direct ‘word of forgiveness of sin’ which had previously been the sole ownership of God in the priesthood. So as not to mistake the weightiness of the matter, the scribe’s response was “blasphemy!”
It is my belief that Jesus is granting a personal permission to remove the guilt and shame traditionally associated with sin from a belief system that enabled the oppressive forces of evil to hold sway over life. I think that this systematic oppression, as it relates to authoritative ‘sin forgiving power’ is, and in itself a vital part of disease. No need to wait for the order to come from the ‘holiest of holy’, you are free NOW to disassociate sin from disease. Let the healing begin…
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