JESUS MEETS OUR DEEPEST NEED
If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? Would you want to be famous? To be on TV, with people everywhere recognizing you and cheering for you as walk up an aisle to accept your award for your amazing acting ability, athletic talent, or beauty. Would you want wealth? To have all the money you could ever want, never worrying again about providing for yourself and your loved ones. Would you want respect and reverence? To have everyone think you’re the greatest person to ever walk the face of the earth and actually treat you like it to your face. Would you want something more spiritual, like wisdom, or an unsurpassed intellect, or transcendent piety? The ability to think the deepest thoughts that have ever been thought to work through the most unsolvable problems of our world and inspire the most cynical people.
Maybe your deepest desires are more immediate and personal. I just want to be healthy. I just want my family to love each other. I just want to get out of debt. Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, we are introduced to a man who has too pressing of a need to want things like fame or wealth (Mark 2:1–12). He was paralyzed, and all he wanted was to be healed. We’re not told what happened to make him paralyzed or how long he had been in this condition. We’re simply told that he was unable to move and that his legs didn’t work as they should.
Most of us haven’t experienced something like this, but I think we all can understand that desire. If we were paralyzed, or in some other similar physical condition, surely our greatest want, our greatest perceived need, would be healing. To be able to stand and walk and maybe even run, skip, or dance in our own power.
Whatever that desire is for you, whatever came to your mind as you thought about what you would ask for if you could have anything you wanted, imagine that there was someone in Tallahassee who could very possibly grant you that desire. What wouldn’t you do to get to that person? Wouldn’t you fight through the worst traffic and crowds? Wouldn’t you do whatever it took to convince your friends to help you get there? Wouldn’t you do whatever was in your power to do to get an audience with that person?
We don’t know who initiated this man’s journey to Jesus. Whether it was the paralyzed man or his four friends, we do know that Jesus sees the faith in all five of them. They wanted healing for this man. It’s likely they’d all heard of Jesus the Christ and how he preached in the synagogue with a supernatural authority straight from God. How he rebuked demons, healed people of their diseases, and even cleansed a leper from his leprosy. With Jesus back in their hometown, these four friends take this paralyzed man to see him, to get what they want from him.
But when these friends finally get that paralyzed man an audience with Jesus, Jesus says something surprising. “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). Jesus doesn’t say this because he is indifferent to this man’s condition or desires (he gets to those, just as he does for us). Jesus knew something that the man and his friends didn’t know. The man has a bigger problem than even his physical need for healing. Jesus is telling them (and us), that this man’s biggest problem in life was not his suffering; it was his sin, and his sin needed to be dealt with even before he got to his suffering.
This is easy for us to forget or even resist, but our biggest problem is not what has happened to us. Nor is it what others have done to us or what we don’t have. It is much deeper than that. Our biggest problem is what the Bible calls our sin. The ways in which we ignore God, rebel against God, refuse to follow our Creator and Redeemer, and hurt ourselves and others in the process. Therefore, our deepest need is Jesus, his love, his forgiveness, his transformation, and his grace. When we bring our problems to God, his response is always going to be that we need a whole lot more than what we think we need — we need Jesus — the only one who can be our Savior and who can truly heal us.
Of course, once this man was forgiven, once he had his deepest need met, Jesus got to work on some of his other needs, including his current condition. “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home” (Mark 2:10–11). Jesus has the authority, power, and compassion to change our lives and meet our deepest needs. What is it that you need to bring him?