Meet the king - Forgiving King - Mark 2:1-12

This is a family service talk by Malcolm Peters from the Riverside Church service on 2nd March 2008.

Click here to read the bible passage. Click here to use smaller text.

Talk Part 1:  recap of series 

Well as I said at the beginning, this year in our FSs we’ve been meeting King Jesus as we’ve started to go through Mark’s Gospel.    Each month we’ll be building up the whole story of Jesus from Mark’s Gospel.   And to help us do that every month, we’ll have new section of our banner that’s on the front of the puppet theatre.

The banner’s meant to remind us of the story of Jesus in pictures.    And the second thing we’re going to do every month is to learn the key verse from that month’s Bible reading.  And so by the end of the year, we should know 10 memory verses from Mark's Gospel.    

Reading  Mk 2:1-12   


Activity Crossword

Crossword time then.  Who was here back in January when we started the series?  Well, when the time was right, King Jesus went into Galilee and started preaching the Good News of the Gospel.     John the Baptist had been preparing the way for Jesus by reminding us that we’re all sinners.  In God’s sight, none of us is clean.  We all need forgiveness. 

1.  Repent:  So with 6 letter at 1 across, what did Jesus command people to do about their sin. The Kingdom of God is near... [Clue it meant to turn around and stop going your own way and start going God's way.]  

Believe:  Excellent.  We’re all sinners, so we need to repent.  But next at 2 across with 7 letters, what are meant to do as well as repenting.  [What are we meant to do with the Good News of the Gospel?]

3a Fishermen:   So after Jesus started commanding people to repent and believe the Good News, he came across 2 men called Simon and Andrew.  So at 3 across with 9 letters, what were these men—and if you need a clue, one of them is on the first banner over there.

3d  Follow me:  So what did Jesus command the fishermen to do?  It’s 3 down with 2 words of 6 and 2 letters.    [Come,   do what, commanded Jesus to the fishermen.]
So put all that together  and we’ve got the 1st memory verse from.  Jesus said:  [The K of G is near; repent and believe the Good News.]

[Mem verse on screen and re-learn??]


Leper:   So moving onto last month, we looked at Jesus the clearing King.  We’re onto 4 down:  and the question is:  who did Jesus meet last month.  If you need another clue:  look at the second banner.  what was wrong with the man who had spots?]

Touch:  Now remember that leprosy is highly contagious, which means you can easily catch if you go near a leper.  So what did Jesus do to the Leper that no one else would normally do?  It’s 5 across with 5 letters.  

Healed:  If you’re willing, the leper said, you can make me clean.    And Jesus replied:  I am willing:  be clean.  And what happened immediately at 6 across with 6 letters?

So who can remember last month's memory verse. 

[Jesus said:   ]    I am willing be clean

[Month 2 memory verse on screen + relearn]

7.  Walk:  So onto this week and the reading we’ve just had.  I wonder who was listening carefully.  Because at 7 across with 4 letters:  there was something the man in today’s story couldn't do.  [And that's why his friends had to carry him on a mat.]

8.  Forgiven:  But before Jesus healed him, he did something else for the paralytic.  So at 8 across with 8 letter:  the paralytic was….   [the paralytic’s sins were ..]


Amazed:  So after he’s been forgiven and healed, the paralytic picked up his mat and walked out right in front of them.  And so at 9 down with 6 letter, how did the people in the room react?   [They were completely..  ]

10.  Praised God:  And last we’ve got 2 words of 7 and 3 letters at 10 down.  The crowd were completely amazed and they did what? 



Talk Part II/  Puppet Sketch I


[Sam appears during previous song enthusiastically dancing moving around]




Me:  Pl sit down everyone.  And, hello Sam.  You’re being very enthusiastic today.  Did you like that song?

Sam:    Naaa.  I was thinking of [singing]  Glory glory Man United, glory glory man united.  … and the reds go marching on. 

Me:  What are you talking about?

Sam:  The FA cup stupid.    We’re gonna win it.

Me:    How can you be so sure.   

Sam:   Well we thrashed Arsenal 4-0 a fortnight ago. 

Me:    Well there’s no guarantee.  What makes you so sure?

Sam:  [in a football chant]  Rooney, Rooney, Rooney.

Me:  What about Rooney?

Sam:   He’s the best player in the world, ‘en-e’  [isn’t he]!

Me:  That’s a bold claim.  What’s your proof? 

Sam:  Saw him score that goal;  wicked?

Me:  when?

Sam:  fortnight ago – told you already


Me:  What on the TV.

Sam:  No – my dad got tickets and we were at Old Trafford with 69,000 others.  4-0  Check it out!      Rooney, Rooney, Rooney. 

Me:  and so you think Rooney’s going to win the FA cup for you.

Sam:  No doubt about  it.

Me:  well you’ve got a lot of faith.    And that’s a bit like those 4 men in that Bible reading we had earlier. 

Sam:  what you mean they support Man U as well?

Me:  probably not no.  These 4 men had a friend who was paralysed. 

Sam:  what you mean, in a wheelchair man?

Me:  well they didn’t have wheelchairs in those days.    So his friends had to bring him on a mat.    [p328 picture on screen]

Sam:  what they brought him on a mat to a footie match?

Me:  no;  they had faith that Jesus could heal him. 

Sam:   [dismissively] Oh, we’re back to your zit splatting mate. 

Me:  The paralysed man couldn’t walk.  So what do you think he wanted? Why do you think his friends brought the paralysed man to see J?

Sam:  Well if he’s stuck in a wheelchair, he’d wanna walk wouldn’t he.

Me:  That’s right:  Jesus had been healing people, like the leper we looked at last month.  And the news was spreading fast;  so the paralysed man's friends brought him to Jesus because they wanted Jesus to heal their friend.     But why couldn’t they get him to J?

Sam:  because the door was shut?

Me:  well sort of yes.  There were so many people crowded into the house that they couldn’t get to Jesus.     [p327 picture on screen]

Me:  I wonder if anyone can remember how they got him to J?  if you need a clue, look at this month’s banner over there and coming up on the screen.  [Banner 3 up]

Sam:  You’re having a laugh in’ya.   How’d they get him on the roof and get through the tiles.

Me:  well in those days, houses had flat rooves and a set of stairs going up the outside. 

Sam:  So they walked up the outside stairs to the roof and dug through someone else’s roof.  [mini pause]  My ole man’d be doing his nut.    It was bad enough when I broke a window in the greenhouse playing football with my mates.  But digging through the roof.  Wicked!

Me:   It was bad.  Can you imagine it?  Sitting in someone’s front room with loads of other people listening to Jesus, when all of a sudden, a bit of dust falls on your head.  [pause] And then a bit of ceiling falls on your head and you’re covered in dust;  so you look up and there’s 4 men digging a hole in the roof!   Jesus has stopped talking and everyone’s looking up as the men make the hole big enough to lower their friend through.  So down he comes on his mat.  Lowered by 4 ropes.  Down through the roof comes the paralysed man on his mat. 

Sam:  And the person whose gaff it was going mental, right!  I’ll sue ya.  And let’s add £100K to the bill for the emotional stress of it all. 

Me:  I don’t suppose the owner of the house was very impressed.  So why did the paralysed man’s friends do it? 

Sam:  How would I know?  Maybe they were nutters!

Me:  Well you already told me before.  If the paralysed man couldn’t walk, what did his friends want Jesus to do for him?

Sam:  heal him.  What  -  is Jesus is some sort of faith healer specialising in zits and broken legs? 

Me:  Well sort of yes.  Jesus is a faith healer.    But he’s actually got a bigger agenda.  What did Jesus do when the man came through the roof?  

Sam:  [Sarcastically]  Let me guess.  He healed him on the spot in an instant.

Me:  We’re coming to that.  What I meant was, what did Jesus say before he healed the paralytic?

Sam:  Whatever. 

Me:  Right again.  Whatever sins you’ve committed, they’re forgiven.  Or more literally:  Son, your sins are forgiven.  And that’s the main point of this month’s passage.  Not the fact that Jesus has got authority to heal disease and sickness.  He has.  But the main point is that Jesus has got the authority to forgive sins. 

So we’re going to learn that as this month’s memory verse.   [Mem verse on screen]. 

So let’s say it all together.   [Sam not joining in]

Me:  J had just done the most amazing thing.  J had forgiven the paralysed man for all the bad things he'd done in his life.   But the religious leaders weren't very happy about it.    

Sam:  cos they’d sussed that he was some sort of dodgy faith healer and all that, right?

Me:    No, we haven’t got to the healing yet.  The religious leaders weren't happy with Jesus forgiving sin, because only God’s got the right to forgive sin. 

Sam:  why’s that then?


Me:  Well imagine someone came up and stamped on your foot.  Accidentally of course.

Sam:  I’d ‘ave em.

Me:  But just suppose you were Ok about them being forgiven.  Who could forgive them.  Could I go up to them and say:  I forgive you for stamping on Sam’s foot?. 

Sam:  [defensively]  No way.  It’s my foot they stamped on.  So I’m the only one who could forgive them.  If I wanted to forgive them that is. 

Me:   And it’s the same with God.  When we break God’s laws, like the 10 commandments, it’s only God who can forgive us.  And so the religious leaders were right.  Who can forgive sins but God alone?  That’s the point.   

Sam:  So Jesus was a bit dodgy then?   Because he was forgiving Mr wheelchair’s sins, right?

Me:  Well what did Jesus do next?    What did Jesus say after he’d forgiven the paralysed man’s sins?

Sam:  How do I know?  You’re the religious bloke.    

Me:    Well why did his friends bring the paralysed man to J?

Sam:  So he could get up and walk of course.

Me:  Exactly:  J said to the paralysed man:  “get up, pick up your mat and go home”. 

Sam:  And just like the leper last month, he was healed just like that, yeah?

Me:  Right again.  It’s another miracle;  Jesus healed the paralysed man.   Just like that.

Sam:  In an instant.

Me:  But it’s more amazing than that.    Because Jesus said something before he healed him.    Let me re-read some verses [9-11] from that passage: 

Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, 11"I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."

Me: So how do you know Rooney’s the best player in the world. 

Sam:  He scores goals and he’s gonna win us the FA cup. 

Me:  Ok, come back to after Easter and if Rooney’s come up with the goods, then I might believe you. 

Sam:  What you don’t believe me now?  Rooney, Rooney, Rooney. 


Me:  No.  Bring me the proof and I’ll think about it. 

Sam:  And then you’ll believe. 

Me:  Just like the crowd in that front room with a hole in the roof. 

Sam:  what!

Me:   The religious leaders were right.  Only God has got the right to forgive sin.  Anyone can say:  your sins are forgiven, but how do we know they’re telling truth?   If someone like Jesus claims to be God, how can we tell if they're telling the truth?

Sam:  if they come up with the goods like Rooney. 

Me:  Right again:  Jesus says:  you’re right:  only God’s got the right to forgive sin.;  yes I was claiming to be God.  And to prove I’ve got that right—to prove I’m God, I’m going to come up with the goods.  I’m going to heal this paralysed man right in front of your eyes.    So he said to the man:  Get up:  pick up your mat and go home”

And that's exactly what happened. 

Sam:  Check it out!



Me:    You can.  It’s in Mark’s Gospel.  And remember the room was packed with witnesses.  Not 69,000.  But enough.  And when Mark’s Gospel first came out, any one of them could have said:  hang on a minute, that’s not what happened.

Sam:  And they didn’t?

Me:  No.  It’s a bit like whether Rooney's the best football player in the world.  Yes Rooney scores lots of goals.  But the issue is:  what does that mean?  Does it mean he's really the best player in the world. 

Sam:  Yeah!

Me:  But not necessarily.  But it’s different with Jesus.  Jesus claimed to have the authority to forgive sin.  Because Jesus claimed to be God.  And then to prove it, Jesus healed a paralysed man.    You see, the miracle proves that Jesus really is God.  It proves Jesus wasn’t some dodgy faith healer.  It proves that Jesus really does have the power to forgive our sins. 

Song 4:  He must be God [Meet the King No 10]

And we’re going to learn a new song about that now.  We remain seated and listen to the first verse and chorus and then stand and go back to the beginning.  OK.  


[Sam not joining in singing and slips off during song]



Talk Part III /  Application

[Chorus]  How cool is that!  How cool is that!  He told the man to pick up his mat. He must be God if he did that, how cool it that!

And that’s why the story’s important for us.  Why did his friends brought the paralysed man to J?  Because they wanted him healed?

Now just imagine that you were paralysed for life and in a wheelchair.  What do you think your greatest need would be?    Most of us would probably say:  to be healed wouldn’t we. 

Well so did the paralysed man.  But what Jesus has been saying to us this morning is this:  it doesn’t matter what you think your greatest need is.  Jesus is telling us that our greatest need is to be forgiven.  Because only when our sins are forgiven can we really follow Jesus like those fishermen we looked at in January. 

At the end of the day, there’s no point in being healed, or winning gold medal in the Olympics or being the greatest footballer in the world.  There’s no point in any of that if your sins aren’t forgiven.   Because if your sins aren’t forgiven, then God’s still angry with you, and when you die, you’ll spend eternity in hell and not heaven.  If you’re sins aren’t forgiven then you won’t be following Jesus the King. 

J healed a paralysed man so he could show, he’s got the power to forgive our sin.  The Christian faith isn’t wishful thinking.  It’s not a philosophy someone made up.  It about a real person, JC, who really lived, died and rose again.    But that person is also God and he’s got the power to forgive our sin.  Jesus is the forgiving King. 

And so the issue is this:  are you going to slip away at the end of the service like Sam the Cam.  Are you already thinking about getting back to your X-box, the Sunday lunch or the FA cup or whatever.  Or are you going to take Jesus seriously?  And if you are, there’s plenty of age-related ways you can do that here at [SF’s/ Riverside] Church. 


Every Tue here in the community centre from 5:454 to 6:45pm we run a kids club called Jesus club for primary school aged children.  We’ve got Adults, Babies and Children toddler group here on Thursday lunchtimes.  And on Sundays we have a Sunday school on the Sundays in-between FSs.  So there’ll be provision for all ages here at Riverside church every Sunday, not just at Family services.  And, of course, there’s plenty going on for adults as well, wherever you’re at in terms of exploring the Christian faith.  So if you want to know more, then pl do visit the Information Stand, where you can pick up a Welcome Pack, or fill in a Welcome card, or just come and speak to me after the service. 


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