Some of my earliest memories are of Sunday school lessons featuring flannel graphs telling the stories of Jesus. I learned of His many miracles and knew His teaching, and this painted a patchy picture of Jesus to me. I didn’t connect Jesus’s actions and words with who He is as the Son of God and Savior of the world.
Years later, I began to see the mission and identity of Jesus displayed in His miracles. It began to click with these words from Jesus in Mark 2:
“‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he told the paralytic— ‘I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home’” (Mark 2:10–11).
Jesus was not merely doing a nice thing for a paralyzed man with very persistent friends. Nor was His declaration of forgiven sins some disconnected statement. His power to heal and to forgive are the same power. His words declare His authority and demonstrate His purpose: to make the world whole. This physical healing was tied to healing of the soul.
A few verses later, we see how the Pharisees were offended by Jesus’s tendency to keep company with the “extra” sinful. His response to them once again magnifies His mission to heal and make whole: “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Jesus healed physical ailments and filled hungry bellies, proving that He is the Great Physician of sinners, both body and soul.
No one is righteous enough to not need Jesus. Some of us think we are too healthy for the doctor—the Pharisees certainly did. But Jesus is saying that in order to be forgiven, to be healed, they must admit their need. The paralytic man and his friends knew their need, as did the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:1). To them, Jesus gave forgiveness and healing. All we need is to see just how much we need Jesus, and then seek His forgiveness.
When Jesus’s mother and brothers came to see Him, He didn’t prioritize them over the crowd He was caring for. Instead, He told the crowd, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35). Was He demeaning His family? No! He was opening the family doors wide to accept all who admit their need and submit to follow Him. “The one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11). Jesus came for the spiritually sick, which is to say all of us who would lay down our pride, trust Him, and claim the righteousness He came to give us as our own.