Missional Jesus attracts crowds, summons folks to follow him in order to participate in the kingdom mission, invites all sorts of folks to trust him, and both names and engages the powers of evil. And, as has been indicated a number of times, he heals people. But our passage today reveals special features about the missional Jesus.
1. What stands out here is that Missional Jesus heals on the basis of second-hand faith. I don’t know how to explain this — and some speculate that the paralyzed man had faith himself, and that makes sense too — except to say that our passage says that Jesus saw “their” faith, and that means he saw the faith of those who let the man down through the roof.
2. Missional Jesus’ style and substance offend the religious authorities. When I was in college the book on this topic was by John Stott and it was called Christ the Controversialist. I read it and relished it.
3. Missional Jesus perceives human tensions with God.
4. Missional Jesus challenges those around him to watch what he does — he heals a man — and to infer from what he does to who he is.
5. Missional Jesus forgives sins and, evidently, connects sins to physical maladies.
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 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. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 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? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 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!”