Read Mark 2:1-12
At least one of the five men had obviously heard of Christ’s reputation for healing the sick and the lame. Exactly who initiated the plan isn’t clear. Was it the lame man himself or one of the friends? Regardless, what they had in mind was very simple. All the friends had to do was carry their partially paralyzed friend to Jesus. After all, Jesus was in the area. Perhaps He would do for the paraplegic what He had done for others.
It sounded simple enough until they saw the crowd. Standing room only! There was no access to the teacher. The sea of people would not part. So, plans changed. Desperate to see their friend experience healing, they made a hole in the roof and lowered their friend through it. Now, the people stepped aside as Jesus stepped forward. Surely now the healing would come.
But what Jesus offered initially likely surprised all five of them. It certainly shocked the teachers of the law. You see, rather than a healing touch, Jesus extended forgiveness to the man on the mat. Thankfully, it is true that He also healed the man moments later.
One might say that the man coming for healing received that and more. He received the cake with icing on it. But which was the cake? And which was the icing?
The man must have experienced the repercussions of his paralysis on a daily, if not hourly basis. We don’t know how long he was paralyzed. Days? Months? Years? His entire life? He must have yearned for an equal amount of time to be able to move, walk, and run like everyone else. Certainly that was an intense desire that he carried.
But that healing was only the icing.
Forgiveness was his greatest need. It is for everyone. Granted, it doesn’t always scream as loudly as other glaring needs, but it is just as real and even more debilitating. Short of forgiveness offered through Christ and His gospel, its ramifications extend beyond this life and into eternity.
Forgiveness, you see was the cake.
As you engage in ministries that addresses the real, felt needs of people, understand that there is a greater need still. Don’t give them icing without a cake!