Which Group Are You In? :: By Nathele Graham

Sometimes we become so familiar with Scripture that we miss some important points. If we rush through Scripture instead of pondering on God’s word, we miss deeper truths that can’t be grasped by speed-reading through it. I know it’s a fad to read through the Bible in a year, but as you zip through the verses, take notes and go back and study. In that way, you will learn the lessons God wants us to teach us. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Too many Christians don’t understand how important it is to study Scripture.

There are many accounts in Scripture that are easy to rush through, but if we take the time to study, they teach important truths. One such account takes place in Capernaum. “And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them” (Mark 2:1-2).

This event is important and is also described in Matthew 9:2-8 and Luke 5:17-26. Jesus was in a house in Capernaum, and everyone knew it and wanted to hear Him. We all have homes, so ask yourself what is noised (heard) about your house? Does everyone in your community know that Jesus is in your house? Or do they see sin there? Do your actions in your house deny Christ? Is there bitterness and anger between the husband and wife, and do they argue constantly? Are they even married? That’s a terrible message to show to the community and to your children. If you step away from the worldly ways and earnestly invite Jesus into your home, what a blessing that will be.

What about the church you attend? Is Jesus welcome there? Or is your service designed to teach very little of God’s word. Notice what Jesus did; “…and he preached the word unto them” (Mark 2:1b). Could it be that people aren’t flocking to your services because the word isn’t being preached? That’s a sign that we are in the very end of days.

The last letter Jesus dictated to John and recorded in Revelation describes the Laodicean church era. Jesus isn’t welcome in that congregation. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). It’s not too late to invite Jesus into your house and into your life.

Good works aren’t the same as preaching the word. Works won’t save anyone. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Those words were written by the Apostle Paul, who understood how important it was to preach God’s word with no gimmicks or tricks to entice someone into pseudo-faith.

In looking deep into this account, we see there are many groups represented there. The Central figure is Jesus. He should always be the center of everything we do.

The first group to look at is the man who needed healing. Although he was one man, he is representative of all people. Sin has crippled all of us, and only Jesus can forgive our sin and heal us eternally. He is our only salvation. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Today, there’s a push to unite all faiths. According to the pope, we are all God’s children, and no matter what we believe, we are saved. That sounds like a nice idea, but according to Scripture, it is totally wrong. Muslims don’t believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus but think He will bow down to Allah, so their faith won’t save them. Catholics put more value on what the pope says than what Jesus taught. Only Jesus can forgive sin and give eternal life. Don’t be deceived. Most Jewish people are blind to the fact that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah, but only turning to Jesus will bring salvation.

What sin had caused this man to become an invalid? Some Bible teachers say he had a sexually transmitted disease that was killing his body. Sin is crippling. Lying is a sin and causes much heartache. Anger is a sin and can result in injuring another person physically and emotionally. Pride is a sin and is an attempt to make yourself more important than others. We are all guilty of sin, but whatever it was this man had done, he was unable to walk to see Jesus on his own. He had friends who cared enough to take him to get the healing he needed.

The second group we will look at is the men who brought their friend to Jesus. How had they known of Jesus and that He could heal their friend? Had they met Him before, or did they just know Him by reputation? Whatever motivated them, they had the faith in Him that many people today lack. In this case, the friends were so convinced that Jesus could heal their friend that they brought him to see Jesus. It took great effort to lower the man down through the roof. Did the friend want to come? Scripture doesn’t tell us, but the friends were determined that Jesus had the power to heal.

“And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:3-5).

Whose faith did Jesus see? Was it the faith of the friends? Or was it the sick man’s faith along with his friends? The point is that Jesus saw faith and responded. If you’ve been praying for someone to come to Jesus, continue to earnestly pray. Jesus will see your faith. Do you know someone crippled by sin? If so, do everything you can to bring them to Jesus. Maybe you could have a Bible study with that person.

Jesus is the only answer. We don’t know if the crippled man had asked his friends to take him to Jesus or if the friends just picked him up and took him against his will. The point is that only coming to Jesus brought healing.

The third group that was there had come to spread doubt. “But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:6-7). Luke’s account of this story tells us the Pharisees were also there. These doubters were the religious leaders who were more concerned about their power and control over the people than the fact that the love of Jesus healed a sick and dying man. Religion always gets in the way of faith. Those men had answered their own question. Jesus forgave the man his sin, and the doubters said it was blasphemy because only God can forgive sin. They were correct. Only God can forgive sin, not a priest or any other human. Jesus was God incarnate.

Don’t place your faith in religion, and don’t allow doubters to stand in your way of coming to Jesus. Don’t let anyone keep you from sharing the Gospel and bringing someone else to faith in Him.

Some of the onlookers there may have just been curious, but Jesus knows what a person is thinking. He reads hearts. Jesus knew that the real reason the religious leaders were there was to prove that He was a fraud. Jesus knew the stubborn and cold hearts of the Scribes. “And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” (Mark 2:8-9).

Jesus knew their hearts, but He also saw the faith of the friends and the hope of the man afflicted with palsy. The scribes and Pharisees knew the Law, but they didn’t know Jesus. They didn’t give voice to their doubt, but Jesus knew what they were thinking.

That’s something we need to understand. Do you put on a show of being religious, but in your heart, you doubt and mock? Jesus was always compassionate to sinners who needed to be forgiven.

Another thing you might see in this lesson is that nobody made a profession of faith. Just as Jesus could read the hearts of the Scribes, He also could read the hearts of the man with the palsy and his four friends. The man couldn’t be healed without his friends helping him, but he had to repent of his sin. Repent means to change your mind. He had to change his mind about whatever sin had caused the palsy. He didn’t stand before the crowd and make a speech or even ask Jesus for forgiveness. Still, Jesus knew he was repentant. Jesus knows your way of life and knows what you harbor in your heart. What we harbor in our heart will show in our actions. Eventually, the Pharisees brought formal charges of blasphemy against Jesus and had Him crucified.

What do you try to hide in your heart? Anger, pride, lying, stealing, the desire to please friends instead of pleasing God? We all have something we try to hide. Jesus is looking into your heart.

When Peter confronted Simon the Sorcerer for desiring God’s power for all the wrong reasons, he said, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:22-23). Peter was guided by the Holy Spirit and knew a person must truly be repentant of the wickedness that cripples life.

John wrote to believers and told them (and us), “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Both Peter and John had seen how Jesus forgave the man with the palsy.

There’s also a difference between being sorry for something and repenting of sin. Judas followed Jesus but was never a true follower. He betrayed Jesus, which led to the crucifixion. Judas was sorry but committed suicide. There was no repentance. On the other hand, Peter denied knowing Jesus and was deeply repentant. Jesus forgave him, and Peter’s life was changed.

Are you sorry for your sin but not repentant? You need to repent.

Jesus spoke kind words to the crippled man. That man could never doubt that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy.) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion” (Mark 2:10-12). What a powerful testimony this man had for the rest of his life.

Everyone who saw the miracle was amazed. Did they become believers? Scripture doesn’t say, but we can look into our own hearts and ask ourselves if we are rising from our bed of sin and death to be a witness for Jesus and His power. We all have a testimony.

Which one of the groups are you in? Are you the one in need of healing, or are you struggling to bring someone to Jesus? Maybe you’re in the group of doubters who refuses to admit your need for Jesus. We all have things in our life that need to be forgiven, and only Jesus can give you that forgiveness. Stop making excuses and trying to justify your sin. Earnestly repent of the sin that is crippling you. Let Him change your life.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham



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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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