I wrote earlier this week about a Scripture verse and a sad memory. This morning I had just the opposite experience. In the mornings I read the Word to Ariel. Mark 2:1-12 was our morning reading. As I was about to read it, a flood of good memories came back to me. I shared those with her before I read.
First, this is the first passage that came to my mind in 2007 when I awoke from back surgery. For the first time in nearly three weeks I was not in excruciating pain. As I began to realize the agonizing pain was gone, Jesus’ words from Mk. 2:5 came to mind, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” I was overwhelmed with the grace of God in Christ at the forgiveness of my sins. The surgery and the relief I felt only underscored the beauty of “My son, your sins are forgiven.”
Second, Mark 2:1-12 was the first sermon I preached after I recovered. The themes were that sin is worse than suffering, therefore forgiveness is more important than healing. I preached it out of my own sense of immense gratitude to the Son of God.
Third, I almost immediately re-ruptured the disk and I was in pain. It was depressing to have my back hurt again, although not to the same degree. One night we had driven to Reno, and on the way back I began to feel quite a bit of pain. As a walked gingerly into the house I felt overwhelmed. I sat on the couch and began to cry. I felt like I would never get better. Ariel sat down next to me and cried with me. I got up, walked into our bedroom and Pilgrim Radio was on, and was playing the sermon I had preached from Mark 2:1-12! I laid on the bed and listened to the sermon as God’s Word to me. It brought me out of the depression and encouraged me. Yes, God used my own sermon from Mark 2:1-12 to help me.
Fourth, I was in Israel and we were going through Capernaum. Galilee was my favorite part of the trip. I was assigned to preach a few short sermons at different sites. The synagogue in Capernaum was one such assignment. I preached Mark 2:1-12, because it was in Capernaum that our Lord healed the paralytic. It was a surreal experience and one of great joy. To be standing in that synagogue, a stone’s throw from the house where the paralytic was let down through the roof, was amazing.
This passage, Mark 2:1-12, is woven into my Christian experience and my walk with Christ. He has used it in many ways. As I came to it this morning, the experiences came back to my mind, but most importantly, I was reminded, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” Sin is worse than suffering, therefore forgiveness is more important healing.