Friday, March 26, 2010

need a little faith?

There is a story of the paralytic man in Mark 2:1-12. I have always been marveled by this story, and a few years ago at a teen conference I was blessed to be a part of I heard the teaching of this story in a new light. Isn't that how the Lord captures our hearts? In reading His word, in opening our eyes to all He has for us His word is brought to life through the pages before us.Last night at Awana this is the lesson I taught, and the little first graders who sat before me wide eyed loved it. As I teach them, I always ask them to recall the story for me and in that way I know they have listened and can plant the Word of God in their hearts.Here in Mark Jesus is found at a house. Everyone knows He is there, and they are gathering around. They are not just inside, but outside looking in, trying to catch a glimpse of the Savior. Can you picture this day? So many gathered around Jesus that there is not room for any more to come through the front door. Everyone is packed in tight, waiting to see what Jesus is going to do. Waiting with anticipation to hear His word. This makes me think of church today. Often we stay home and skip. Often we keep track of the clock so we do not go over time. Often we are sitting in church letting our minds wander in other directions. We are missing the whole blessing here. People use to stand for hours listening to the Word of God. Here in this house, people are gathered outside trying to move closer. In church we are afraid if someone new sits a little too close for comfort. I can picture our church and the pews filled, and the windows open and people gathered in from everywhere to hear the Word preached. The church bells ringing as people are gathering in while the choir is singing out in praise. We should be excited, waiting in anticipation to see what Jesus is going to do on Sunday mornings, but we sit yawning and tired from the night before. These folks were ready. We should be ready and wanting to seek Him with all our hearts. I have been there with you sitting in church with other things on my mind. Racing to get home to finish chores or take a good long nap. But while I am sitting in that pew I need to be on the edge of my seat in excitement about what God is doing. My heart needs to let everything else go at that front door and come in ready to worship with my full heart before Him.Now we have the paralytic man who cannot walk. He has lived upon this mat before others maybe his whole life. But he has great faith. This man is blessed to have four friends.Once they hear that Jesus is coming, and will be at this house they gather their friend up in hopes, in faith of seeing Jesus. These friends have faith, and they love this friend. They carry their friend upon this mat for no telling how far.Its not like they could just hop in a car and take him to the hosptial. They were making a sacrifice for their friend in faith. I am sure they are tired, and weary. Can you picture them? Once they have walked and their feet are hot and dirty they see the house, but so many are gathered they cannot get in the front door. So what do these friends do? They don't turn around and go home in hopes of seeing Jesus another day. They don't just drop their friend off and ask someone else to provide. They stay. These friends know they cannot make it to the front door, so they have another idea. These are the friends we want in our lives and these are the friends we want to be to others. They make a way to raise their friend on the roof. Can you see these friends gathered around the one who cannot walk? Can you see them trying to decide what to do next and now that they are on the roof what happens now? They dig a hole. These friends are determined to get to Jesus, and you know Jesus knows what is going on. That is the part that really grabs my heart. Jesus knows the faith of these men. Can you see everyone in this room as dirt begins to fall, as this hole begins to form, and now look at what they see. They see this man being lowered in the room right where Jesus is! Can you imagine the looks on the faces around this room?Jesus sees them and turns to the paralytic man and this is what He says from Mark 2:5 "When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, Son your sins are forgiven you."Now the Scribes who were there didn't understand what was going on. They started asking why Jesus was telling blasphemies. They ask who can forgive but God? (Mark 2:7-10) So Jesus asks these men, what is easier to say, your sins are forgiven or pick up your mat and walk. And you know what? Jesus does both. He not only forgives this man's sins, but he then tells this young man to pick up his mat and walk.He clearly shows these men that He is God. In verse 11 it says: "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and to to your house."It tells us next that indeed that is what he did. But for me I see this man running out there with his hands raised in praise. I see his friends with tears in their eyes watching their friend run out of there along with them. A friend that doesn't need a mat any longer for the Savior he trusted in, and had great faith in healed him.I love this story because we find a young man that is surrounded by friends who love him and are willing to go the distance for him. We see great faith in Jesus through these men who never stopped until they seen Him. And we have our Savior teaching, preaching, and healing. We see our Savior in a room filled with some who believed, and others who questioned. What do you think they thought after this man was healed by Jesus? Maybe some came to faith that day as others jeered Jesus calling Him names. But as these men left that day they were witness to the power of Jesus. They were witness to His love and I bet they told everyone that day and on down in time what Jesus did for them that day.This story gives us hope and shows us great and mighty love, along with a powerful faith. Doesn't Jesus tell us that these three are what we are to abide in?1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now abide in faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."Praise Jesus for showing Himself to us through His word. I am so thankful to be able to have His word right here at my fingertips to open and see His wonder and love. I want to worship in a new way. I want to raise my hands in praise to all He has done, is doing, and will do. I want to pick up my mat that I have been laying on for way to long, and get up and run with a new faith and a new found hope in Jesus.
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