Sunday 13 June 2021 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches  

        ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6)                         

Hymn And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?


2 'Tis mystery all! Th'Immortal dies!
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.


3 He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race;
'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me.


4 Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.


5 No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.


Prayer God of grace we worship, we declare our love for you and rejoice in your goodness. We praise you for the gospel and for the amazing hope that it brings to our hearts. Thank you that in Jesus we have the assurance that we are forgiven. May your Spirit help us to enjoy fellowship with you. We ask it in the precious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, and to his glory. Amen.  

Scripture Mark 2:1-12 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

                  Message Methods of roof construction have varied over the years. Flat roofs are rarely successful in our climate, as the housing authorities once  discovered at Craigshill, Livingston New Town, West Lothian, to their cost. In Bible times flat roofs were common. A roof would have wooden beams, rafters, brushwood and reeds, and be covered over with earth and clay. The friends who undid this to lower their friend down indicates an amazing determination to overcome great obstacles. They were motivated by care for a friend and by faith. They knew that getting him to Jesus would make a huge difference to the man. Jesus seeing their faith, responded and healed the man. Faith like that moves the hand of God. That should encourage us to exercise faith on behalf of others. There are those who do not yet believe but have great need. We can bring them to the Lord, firstly in prayer, but also by getting them to where Jesus is. We can invite them to church or to Christian gatherings. 

    So, the paralyzed man was brought. Jesus healed him of his physical condition, but also saw a greater need, a paralysis of the soul. We do not know the man’s background but perhaps he lived under the shadow of some guilt or failing. How wonderful for him to hear the words ‘take heart, my child, your sins are forgiven’. This is given as a sovereign act of God. It is the same for us when we come to Christ. It is not that we might be forgiven, we really are. ‘The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’. Jesus sees into our heart. He knows our deepest need even when we do not. He speaks to us his word of pardon and peace. The assurance that it is real can be backed up from scripture.

    Jesus faced disapproval from the scribes. They did not accept that forgiveness could be offered with any degree of confidence. Jesus asked them whether it was easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or arise get up and walk. It was harder to say: ‘get up and walk’. If untrue it could easily be disproved, for the man would be unable to. It is easier to say your sins are forgiven, for evidence to prove or disprove it would not be obvious. But forgiveness was the harder and greater thing to achieve. Its results last for eternity. To win it for us Jesus gave himself up at Calvary. Jesus healed the man of his paralysis to demonstrate his power in the spiritual realm; the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.    

      Prayer We thank you Father that you see and meet our deepest needs and that coming to Jesus we find healing and refreshment for our souls. In the words Jesus has taught us we are glad to pray further, saying, Our Father…   Closing Words May God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep us, both this day and for evermore. Amen.