In 2019, Marine veteran Micah Herndon ran the Boston Marathon to pay tribute to his fallen fellow Marines, Mark Juarez, Matthew Ballard, and Rupert Hamer. The three men had lost their lives during a bombing in Afghanistan in 2010. Herndon wore their names across his shoe laces as he ran. After 22 miles, Herndon’s legs began to give out. He continued to run, but his legs gave way near the finish line and the Marine collapsed. Yet Herndon, age 31, would not be stopped. He crawled the last several yards to cross the finish line.
Persistence. For Micah Herndon, it meant finishing his third marathon. For the four men in today’s passage it meant helping their paralytic friend see Jesus. It would have been easy for these friends to give up when they saw the enormous crowd surrounding Jesus. But their persistence paid off, and Jesus healed their friend. Jesus also said something that surprised the people who were watching. To the paralytic man, Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (v. 5).
The religious teachers who were scrutinizing everything Jesus said and did declared His words blasphemous. But throughout this passage, Jesus demonstrated that He was not about following religious tradition. Instead, He was doing something new. He was forgiving sin. He was calling a tax collector to be His disciple (vv. 13–17). He was eating with sinners. He and His disciples were not fasting like others.
Jesus clearly demonstrated that He was about something different. He was not limited to human tradition that would keep someone like the paralytic from coming to Him. With everything He said and did, He was presenting grace. Jesus refused to put the new wine of His truth into the old wineskins valued by the Jewish authorities.
Today, remember our country’s wounded and fallen veterans and their families, as well as those with physical health challenges. Pray for the grace, mercy, and strength of Christ to fill their lives. Ask God to give your church wisdom on how to serve wounded and physically challenged saints in your midst, so they can experience His love for them.