Sunday, October 3, 2010

Please read Mark 2:1-12

There are at least two or three stories going on here. One has to do with this sick man and his friends. The other is the question of HOW could Jesus do either of the miracles: heal the lame man and, more importantly, forgive his sin. The other, going along with the second, is the underlining stream of this Authority of Jesus.

Let’s just take the first one first. The man was lame. Not just lame but he had friends who wanted him NOT to be in that condition anymore. This sort of thing can’t be cured with bed rest or hot spring treatments. It is not, what could be called, an easy illness to deal with. He was bed ridden. He could not get around on his own. He needed to be carried BECAUSE of his misery. This shows us the suffering state he and many like him are in today.

While working with Wheelchairs of Hope (WOH), I have heard of similar stories of men and women who were so injured. Some were the result of poor medical treatment as a child, no treatment at all or as the result of a serious accident: a cave in, a land mine, attempted suicide.

One such story comes from Mongolia. The young woman in question was depressed. She wanted to end her life. Her parents did not care for her and wanted her out of their life. She was a burden to them. So, she got herself a gun and shot herself in the midsection. The shot did not kill her but she bleed for a few days without going to the hospital. Her parents did not take her but left her to die. After a few days, she was taken to a medical center and they stopped the bleeding but the injury was so severe, they could not repair the damage. (They could have IF she was treated when it happened.) Now, her lower part of her body could not move. She could not even kill herself. She became a paralytic. In her despair, she was introduced to Jesus. Make a long story short, she opened her life and heart to Jesus as her Savior and she was also given a wheelchair from WOH. Now, she has hope. She knows Jesus loves her deeply. She can make it through life now.

While she was not healed of her injury, her heart was healed. She had a reason to live. She has Salvation and her name is written in the Book of Life. She will be able to walk again once in Heaven. She is not bitter any more. She was touched by Jesus.

This story in Mark shows us what our response should be to the needs around us. We, at times, need to carry those who need that support. We need to show compassion toward our fellow-creatures who are in distress. True active Faith and a strong Faith work together. The Father would accept that kind of Faith. Sin paralyzes us. Because sin is the cause of our paralytic condition, we understand that the way to remove the effect is to take away the cause. The pardon of sin strikes at the very root of all diseases. Not trying to get ahead of the outline, BUT Jesus Christ proved His Power and Authority to forgive sin by showing us His Power and Authority to cure the man of palsy. (Muscular inability to move part or all of the body.) The whole fact THAT He could do both means He CAN DO both in our lives as well—to bring Him Glory and Honor.

Most people think themselves whole—without a need for help in many areas if not all areas of life. They think of themselves as whole—no need of a physician. Their lives are an example of ones who

1. Despise

or 2. Neglect Christ and His Teachings.

But, the ones who realize they are sick with sin and under the control of sin, they are the ones who are convinced of His Gift to them. They are humbled sinners, without power to resist the influence of sin. They accepted Jesus’ help. They open their heart to Him as their Savior and find healing from within.

But getting back now to the man on the mat. His condition was visible. Four men carried him to see Jesus. Jesus was sharing the Message of the Gospel with the crowds in a building. All sorts of people were there. Some were there out of habit. Others were there because they wanted to hurt Jesus. Still others were there to hear the Words of our Lord.

During Jesus’ teaching, people started to see and feel dirt coming down on them from the ceiling. Time passed very quickly and soon an opening appeared above them. Think of this for a moment. Four men took on a project of making a skylight in this building’s structure. I don’t know about you, but if it were my house, I would not be too pleased at all. Not a word about that in this passage; I guess the response was unimportant. A hole—big enough to place a man on a mat IN and lower him to the feet of Jesus.

In fact, the only thing mentioned was Jesus’ comment: When Jesus saw their faith; He said to the paralytic, “Son, YOUR sins are forgiven.” Did the man even know he had sins? Because of his condition, he could not visit the Temple, but he had sins? Kind of embarrassing, wasn’t it? Being called out that he had sin in his life. It was the feeling and also the teaching at that time that such illnesses were caused by sin—by either him or his parents. Jesus does not address that wrong teaching; He just cut to the real issue and did something about it. And a strange thing happened. Not only could he walk again, he was sin-cleaned! Forgiven!

One you can see and the other, well, you can’t. But there is outside thing you can see: joy. Nothing was said about this man’s joy or what happened to the four that brought him. Why? Again, that was not the point of Mark’s narrative. Scripture is silent on those points. The fact is that the man was healed because of the authority of Jesus. Healed spiritually inside and physically outside. And the response of the crowd: 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

(This story is also found in MATT 9:8 & 33).

My friends, your response would be what? In truth, would you not also be amazed? (The lame are made to walk, sight given to the blind.) Jesus was acting out prophecies made concerning Him from the Old Testament. In Is 29:18, we read: In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.

Later, in Luke 7, even John the Baptist asked the question: “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' " Yet it happens every time someone is touched by the Lord. Salvation is extended to them through Faith in Jesus. Have you seen that? Have you experienced that change? Do you remember? This year, you will see more of that as we grow in our Faith.

Do you feel Jesus was taken by surprise by this event? Do you feel He knew what was going to happen that day? Was He shocked at the actions of the four men? He was pleased with their faith. He was willing to touch the man BECAUSE He wanted people to see His authority. Not in a self seeking way. He really wanted the people to give praise to His Father.

So, where does that take us this morning? A man who can’t walk and a sinner, walks away from the full room of excited people … knowing that his sins were taken away by the only One who could forgive sin. This Jesus did both!

Are you in a situation in life where you are unable to move? Are you paralyzed in your spirit and you can’t move from that point? Has there been an event, an occurrence in the past where you have not been able to move from. A hurt? A distant memory? A sin done against you? A sin you did toward someone else? You would only dream of that to be gone from your memory, but it still hangs on. You need to know that this One called Jesus can touch that sort of paralytic stance. He died for that.

That is why we come to The Table today. We come to not only give thanks for His death but also to ask for forgiveness of our sins.

1 John 1:8-10 says: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.

We become like the ones who were questioning Jesus’ authority to forgive sin. They and we have a common bond: unbelief. But Jesus came to wash away our unbelief. We come into a relationship with Himself through His blood that poured from His Body on that Cross.

Read with me from Mark 14:17-24. (The MESSAGE)

17-18 After sunset He came with the Twelve. As they were at the supper table eating, Jesus said, "I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand Me over to the conspirators, one who at this moment is eating with Me."

19 Stunned, they started asking, one after another, "It isn't me, is it?"

20-21 He said, "It's one of the Twelve, one who eats with Me out of the same bowl. In one sense, it turns out that the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well marked by the Scriptures—no surprises here. In another sense, the man who turns Him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man—better never to have been born than do this!"

22 In the course of their meal, having taken and blessed the bread, He broke it and gave it to them. Then He said,

23-24 Taking the chalice, He gave it to them, thanking God, and they all drank from it. He said,

This is My Blood,
God's new Covenant,
Poured out for many people.

Please know that Jesus has the highest authority to forgive your sins. He can because Jesus is God.