The paralytic ability to walk represents a transformed life: from dead in transgressions to alive with Christ in resurrection power. The doubting scribes responded, "We have never seen anything like this." The former paralytic who became a new man in Christ was teaching all the multitude as they were coming to him (Mark 2:6-13).
Some people like the paralytic have obvious needs like those in poverty. Others like Levi, the tax-gatherer, have a stable occupation, but everyone needs Christ. Unfortunately, when one becomes a Christian, he or she often loses all contact with unbelievers. Jesus and His disciples were different. They ate with tax-gatherers and sinners while developing relationships with those despised by society. His mission and by extension, your mission, is to heal the sick through the power of Christ (Mark 2:14-17).
Peoples' needs vary in every situation and era. One must adapt their methods to contain (fresh wineskins) the gospel (new wine) so it ministers to the need (not burst the old wineskins). Jesus applied this advice in eating with sinners instead of fasting along with healing on the Sabbath. The latter came into being to benefit and heal humankind, not following legalistic Sabbath rules (Mark 2:18-28).
Paul's advice in Col. 4:2-6 (Message Translation) summarizes the principles taught in this passage:
Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.
Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the
mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. Pray that
every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as
day to them. Use your heads as you live and work among
outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity.
Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in
others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
Here are the key points for application:
1. Stay alert to present realities as you pray for wisdom
2. Get outside the box (your personal "jail") in your thinking
3. Consider this question: What makes Christ most plain and understandable to your target audience?
4. Do research to determine the most effective method of ministry so you don't miss a trick
5. Execute your strategy learned from research to make the most of every opportunity
6. Gather continual input to adjust your strategy on the fly so it brings out the best in your target audience
Ask God how He wants you to apply these six points to your ministry situation.