Pastor Tim Tseng • June 5, 2016
Bear One Another’s Burdens
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
- The Paralyzed Man and his Friends (Mark 2:1-12)
This classic episode in Jesus’ ministry shows us how faith overcomes the burden of sin. It also shows us how we, too, can carry one another’s burden. When all looked hopeless, the paralyzed man’s friends found a way to bring him to Jesus by climbing up the roof, breaking a hole in it, and dropping the man in front of Jesus. They demonstrated what it means to bear or carry one another’s burden.
2. The Burden of Sin
When Jesus forgave the paralyzed man’s sin, he addressed the root cause of life’s burdens – sin. The teachers of the law and other contemporaries may have blamed the man’s paralysis on the sin that he might have committed. And there was nothing they could do about that since only God forgives sin.
But the burden of sin is not only what is committed by an individual. It is also the weight of life’s imperfections and pain that is a result of all of humanity’s sin. The paralyzed man might have been as much a victim of sin as one who committed sin. For example, we are like soldiers in a battlefield called sin. Some of us will commit sin, others will be victims. We have no choice but to fight. That is what the burden of sin feels like. And the more we realize this, the more we see life as a burden.
The older we get, we are required to carry more responsibilities. This leads to feeling even more weighed down by life. Many of us emotionally divest from life’s responsibilities. This often leads to an unhealthy outlook and burn out. This is the consequence of carrying the world’s sin on our shoulders (not just our own).
So when Jesus healed the paralyzed man, he first declared that that man’s sin is forgiven. The man’s emotional and spiritual life, weighted down by the burden of sin had to be lifted first. Jesus lifts that burden by forgiving and then healing. By his teachings, death, and resurrection, he lifts the burden of sin for all of us.
3. The Burden of Faith
Therefore, if we feel weighted down by life, we are invited to come and follow Jesus. He will carry our burdens and give us a light yoke (Matthew 11:28). He frees us from this burdened outlook towards life so that we can live by faith and in the Spirit. Instead of emotionally divesting ourselves, we can see all of life’s challenges as a chance to discover and joyfully invest in the life God has given us. This is the burden of faith because we still have to carry something like a new outlook and a desire to help lift the burdens of others.
When we carry the burden of faith, like the paralyzed man’s friends, we desire to bear the burdens of others (Galatians 6:1). We come to church looking out for opportunities to bear one another’s burdens. We live our lives looking for opportunities to help lift others up. For example, Jerry Sittser took care of a little boy neighbor whose mother died tragically young. For two years he helped the burdened widower. Another example is helping a sick classmate who has been out with her class notes and preparation for exams.
In the church, another important way to carry each other’s burdens is to carry our own load (Galatians 6:3-5). A church has many activities and functions. There is always more than active members are able to bear. So, by carrying our fair share, we are bearing one another’s burden.
Let us challenge each other to lift our burden of sin and carry the burden of faith!