Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Phrases in Mark 2

“Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”

(I heard a sermon a few months ago that has had me thinking all this time. Here is where I am at in my thought process.)

How often is the church failing in its mission in the same exact way that this crowd in Mark did. We have been commissioned with bringing the world to Christ; through discipleship bringing people into a relationship with Him. All too often we instead act as a crowd that is oblivious to those around us that would be open to or are even searching for God. Even worse, through our actions, traditions or culture we actively repel people.

In spite of the crowd/church, God can still use individuals and groups to bring people into a relationship with Himself. That is the example of the four friends here in this story. Amazingly, the Bible says that Jesus forgave the paralytic’s sins because of the faith of his friends. The Bible does not exclude the paralytic’s faith in this statement, but it actively includes the faith of the friends. Four stories of healings in Mark make a point of saying that a person’s faith was what healed them. This is not a health and wealth understanding of having a strong enough faith to make the heavenly miracle machine work right, but we do see that people who believe in Jesus enough to go the extra length physically or socially are the ones that Jesus notices. Healing and forgiveness go hand in hand here, and the friends cared enough about the paralytic—and they believed that Jesus was the answer strongly enough—to do all that property damage and make a scene.

Is the church that you are a part of more like the crowd—focused on their idea of Jesus so much that they missed the point of what He was asking of them; or more like the friends—willing to risk everything to bring the lost to Christ?

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