Mark 2:5 – A Visible Faith

Wayne Jackson
Mark 2:5 relates an account in which faith in Jesus is “seen.” Of what significance is this passage to the age-old “faith vs. works” discussion?

Once more Jesus had returned to the city of Capernaum. When the crowds learned of His whereabouts, they pressed near the house where He was, jamming even the doorway, and He proclaimed the Word to them (Mark 2:1ff).

Being aware of the Lord’s power to effect miraculous healing, some benevolent men were determined to bring one of their friends—an invalid—into the Master’s presence. Because of the crowded doorway, they could not gain access to the room in which Christ was teaching. Not to be dissuaded by the circumstance, they went up on the housetop, “uncovered the roof” (i.e., opened a passageway), and lowered their friend into the company of the Great Physician.

At this point the inspired writer has a very significant statement. He says:

“And Jesus seeing their faith said to the one sick of palsy, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” (Mark 2:5).

Note that expression, “Seeing their faith,” and underline it. Jesus saw their faith.

What does faith look like? What color is it? What shape does it take? These are foolish questions, of course. Faith is an intellectual and emotional disposition; it is not tangible. It cannot be seen literally.

What the Lord actually saw was the action of these men. From the divine vantage point, faith is acknowledged when it manifests itself in action.

This account agrees wonderfully with the challenge of James.

“Yes, a man will say, you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith apart from your works, and I, by my works, will show you my faith” (James 2:18).

God sees your faith, and honors it, when that faith is manifested in doing His will. These verses are quite at variance with the denominational philosophy that alleges: “faith alone saves.” Thus, in your margin, beside Mark 2:5, write: See James 2:18; valid faith acts.