Friday, October 1, 2010

Are You Ready to be Amazed and Praise God?

Mark 2:1-12 NLT 
  1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
  6  But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 
  8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said,  11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
  12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

Why do you suppose those religious leaders were present? Most people were there to honestly hear Jesus teach. They were present to check to see what He was teaching. It is a bit like when a school teacher is teaching a lesson, sometimes a school leader comes to watch and make sure the teacher is doing it right and with the correct information. Teachers usually don't like that very much because teaching is their task. However, Jesus loved these leaders as much as the others so He taught them. It was only they who usually would ask questions anyway so it proved to be useful. Jesus could count on them asking the hard and challenging questions. A teacher who thoroughly knows his stuff never worries about being challenged but embraces the challenges as teachable moments.

As the Lord was shaping hearts and minds in the crowded room, compassionate friends broke through the roof and lowered their paralyzed friend right in front of the Lord. Notice that neither they nor the man had to say anything!  The friends took a great personal risk damaging another person's roof but they were so convinced Jesus could help this man that they did not hesitate. Apparently they were ready to bear any consequence to bring their friend to a state of wellness and wholeness. This faith impressed Jesus. Staring at so much lack of faith, whenever Jesus saw faith in action, he marveled at it.  But the teachable moment was there in front of him so He first forgave the man's sins. He didn't need to say it to make it happen but he wanted the man to know, and those present to know that He could forgive sins. 

The religious leaders bit the bait and protested. They opened the door for Jesus to give a powerful observable answer. Teachers should always teach with an observable objective in mind and this one was about the forgiving of sins, rather than the healing of a man. So as they protested he responded with their own words used against them and then healed the man as proof that he had authority to forgive sins. They could say nothing more. They did not repent but begin to add all these lost confrontations together, and eventually would decide to kill Jesus because they could not defeat him any other way. What a surprise would await them even then!

The rest of the people present were all amazed and praised God" the passage tells us. How about you? Are you amazed at Jesus Christ? Do you praise God for what Christ did, has done, is doing, and will do in your life?

Your servant

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