One of the most startling stories in the gospels is found in Mark 2. Jesus has gained a reputation for being a miracle worker. He’s healed countless people and demonstrated his authority over the demonic world. A paralyzed man has caught wind of this and through the help of his friends hatches a plan that will change the course of his life.
Jesus is teaching in a home. The mesmerized crowd has filled every occupiable space. Excluded from this gathering, the paralyzed man’s friends begin thinking outside the box. They climb to the roof, dig a hole in it, and lower him to the feet of Jesus.
Imagine being that man. You’ve been paralyzed perhaps since birth. You’ve never know what it’s like to hike a mountain, run through a meadow, or enjoy the daily pleasures use of one’s legs provides. Finally, you’ve made it to the Man who can change all of that. You’re on the verge of walking, running, skipping, and frolicing for the rest of your life. And the first words out of Jesus’ mouth are: “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
“Um…thank you, Jesus, but…ah…that’s not really what I was looking for. I have a more immediate problem.”
No, you don’t.
This man does have a problem. He has a need. But it’s not the deepest problem or need he has. Jesus is protecting this man from thinking: “If only I could walk, then my life would be all I imagined it could be.”
He’s protecting us from thinking:
“If only my marriage was better, then I would be content.”
“If only I had a job I like, then I would be satisfied.”
“If only I had more money, then I would have a deep sense of security.”
Our suffering is never our deepest problem; our sin is.
You know what sin is? Sin is looking to someone or something besides Jesus to find contentment. It’s looking to someone or something else to give you a sense of value. If you’re going to experience a life-transforming relationship with Christ that leaves you forever changed, you need to deal with the deepest problem. Our perpetually deepest problem is that we look to other things besides Christ to give us what only Christ can give.