Monday, September 16, 2013

Get with the program, or get out of the way! (Mark 2:1-12)

To accomplish our mission we must be willing to take risks and avoid the crowd.

The main purpose of this story is to demonstrate Christ’s divinity and His mission by showing that He had the power to forgive sins. There are also at least four other things we can learn from this text:

(1) Faith is what leads to forgiveness. This is a recurring theme in Mark. When we look at other stories we see this again and again: Here we see it in verse 5. In 5:25-34, the story of the hemorrhaging woman, we see it in verse 34. In the story of Jairus’ daughter (again chapter 5) we see it in verse 36. In 10:46-52, we see blind Bartimaeus’ faith in verse 52.

When Jesus healed people, he was not just making them physically well. He was bringing wholeness—the Kingdom of God. He was making things right on the earth. We see in these stories that forgiveness of sin went hand in hand with physical healing and it was people’s faith that made that all possible. When Jesus went about healing people, He was illustrating His teaching. This is the truth that He was sharing with the crowd that day.

(2) Faith that saves changes the way we live our lives. (James 2:14-26) All the people in these stories demonstrated their faith and trust in Jesus by overcoming obstacles or social stigma. Here in our story, the men did a lot of property damage to get their friend to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He forgave the man his sins. Faith that leads to forgiveness is seen in our willingness to act.

(3) When we live out our faith in the way God desires, we bring others to Jesus. Here in this story, it is clear to see that the men physically brought their friend to Jesus. But the text also clearly says that Jesus saw their faith and forgave the lame man. Could it be that our own faith is lacking and that is why we do not see more people coming to know Jesus? When we fail to live our lives boldly and share Jesus with people it shows that we do not trust Him to use us to tell others what He has commanded us to share.

Finally, (4) we see here that the Crowd was attracted to Jesus’ power and popularity but missed His message and even kept people from coming to Him. All too often we as a church are just like the crowd. We come together to hear from God, but we do not hear Him say to us that we should be going and telling people about Him. Instead, we behave in such a way that we even keep people from seeing God!

Let us follow the example of the four friends in this story and not that of the crowd getting in the way.

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