First Things First

Scott Hoezee

Read: Mark 2:1-12

He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (v. 5)

The story about the friends digging a hole in a roof to get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus has become one of the better known and best loved stories in the New Testament. It is so dramatic to see the lengths these friends would go to in order to get their buddy healed. The poor man could not walk! Something had to be done to fix his legs, and the miracle worker Jesus was clearly the right man for the job.

So how weird it must have seemed to have Jesus look at the man and say, “Your sins are forgiven.” What?! Sins? Come on, Jesus, first things first: heal the guy’s limp legs!” The friends hadn’t strained their backs to hoist their friend onto a roof and then down through a hole to get his sins forgiven! Couldn’t Jesus tell what needed to be done here?

Jesus did know of the man’s physical need and he would heal him soon enough. But Jesus knows that a healthy body and well-functioning legs mean nothing if the person in question is not right with God. Sin is the first thing to deal with for all of us. Once grace has forgiven us and restored our relationship with God, then we can move on to other concerns. For Jesus “first things first” meant doing the main event for which he came to earth: to forgive sin and so restore us to a solid relationship with our Creator God.

—Scott Hoezee

Forgive our sins as we forgive others, O God.