If you read the Bible with any frequency you will probably be familiar with having a sudden revelation, a trivial comment that all of a sudden seems to be of great theological importance to you. I had one of those moments recently.
We read in Mark 2:1-6 NLT When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
We all know the story; it ends with the man walking home with his friends, his mat tucked under his arm.
What I have overlooked all these years is the significance of the first verse, ‘When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home.’ Capernaum was (is) a fishing town on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. After John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus ‘moved’ from Nazareth to Capernaum. This was Jesus’ new home base. This is where Jesus ‘returned’ to.
Depending on the translation you choose, the word ‘home’ in Mark 2:1 is variously translated as ‘home’ or ‘the house’. It seems apparent from Matthew 12:47 that Jesus family had moved to Capernaum also, so it seems reasonable that the context is that Jesus was living in the family home. Capernaum is where Jesus called his first disciples, healed in the synagogue, where Peter lived, the disciples’ destination before they got caught in the storm, etc.
When I was in Israel a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to have a quiet walk along the beach, the very beach Jesus would have walked along so frequently. I digress…
The key in all of this, the big thing I have consistently overlooked in this act of vandalism recorded in Mark 2:4, this ‘home invasion’, was that this was Jesus’ home they were invading!
Imagine having a house full of guests – so many that they’re sitting cross-legged on the floor, on the window ledges, standing outside on the deck leaning in to hear what you’re saying – when all of a sudden there’s a pounding on the ceiling, lumps of hardened clay, straw and plaster dust falling down on everyone, these four guys ripping the roof off your house to let in their quadriplegic friend.
It seems as though Jesus, unlike others there, was delighted this intrepid-five showed up.
As I was reading about this home invasion another verse came to mind, Luke 16:16, a passage I had never understood before (I’m still not certain I’ve got it quite right) started to make sense, “Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.”
As I marry Mark 2:4 and Luke 16:16, I think of the countless exploits of nameless individuals who forced their way into the Kingdom, Jesus commending them for assaulting Him with their faith.