In the Old Testament, God described Himself as the Lord who heals. In His mercy, God gave the prophets Elijah and Elisha power to heal diseases and raise the dead. Jesus, as the only Son of God, is greater than the prophets. Jesus not only healed the sick and raised the dead, He also defeated sin and death once and for all when He died on the cross and rose again. In Unit 24, kids will study stories of times Jesus healed people, physically and spiritually. Jesus will return one day and eliminate sickness and suffering forever.
Session 1 presents the story “Four Friends Helped” from Mark 2:1-12. Jesus was in Capernaum, a city on the Sea of Galilee. The Pharisees and scribes—teachers of the law—came to listen to Jesus’ teaching. They were curious about His message and wanted to make sure He was teaching things that were true. So many people came that they crowded the house; there was no more room.
That day, four friends came to see Jesus. The four men carried their friend who was paralyzed. Jesus had healed people before—even people who were paralyzed. (See Matt. 4:24; 8:6.) The men believed Jesus came from God, and He could heal people. So their faith led to action. Because the friends could not get through the crowd, they carried their friend to the roof and lowered him down to Jesus.
Jesus’ words to the man surprised the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Rather than saying, “Get up and walk,” Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” The religious leaders kept quiet, but Jesus knew their thoughts. They accused Jesus of blasphemy, dishonoring God by claiming to do what only God can do. But Jesus did not blaspheme. He is God, and He has authority to forgive sins.
Jesus asked them, “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” Simply saying, “Your sins are forgiven,” seems to be the easier thing, but to actually forgive sins is harder, something only God can do. As God, Jesus has the power and authority to heal and forgive. And Jesus knew He would take the man’s sins upon Himself on the cross—an act of love that would cost Him His life.
Jesus healed the man who was paralyzed to prove to the religious leaders His power to forgive. Mark 2:12 records the crowd’s reaction: “They were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’”
Read Mark 2:1-12 in your Bible. What questions arise as you read? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the August 6, 2017 session (Unit 24, Session 1) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Alyssa Jones has been a content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids since 2011. She lives with her husband, Nate, and their two kids in Nashville, TN. Alyssa volunteers with the kids’ ministry at Refuge Church, a church plant in Franklin, TN.