So, instead of studying Greek (test tomorrow), I’ve decided to blog. Story of my life. I really do stink at studying. But that’s ok, and that is not what I want to write about today. Really, today I am writing, not because I feel like it (whatever “it” is), but because I desire, above all else, to feel like it. That probably made no sense, but that’s ok. It makes sense to me.
Anyway, so last night at Vision, our BSU president spoke from Mark 1:14-15 & 2:1-12. It was really challenging. Hence, the need to re-examine it by blogging about it.
“Now after John [the Baptist] was arrested, Jesus came into galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
“The Kingdom of God is at hand…”
I’ve always been pretty confused about what exactly this means, what exactly is the Kingdom of God? Well, as I’ve looked and talked about it with others, is that it means that (if you are a follower of Christ) God is ruling over your heart. He is on the throne of your heart. The Light of the world has shone into your heart, and the darkness has not overcome it. Big deal, yes? Yes. With Jesus, this happened. Before Him, we were hopeless. Utterly, completely hopeless. And yet. Jesus came. The Kingdom of God came near. The Kingdom of God is here, reigning over our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit within. Be amazed. This is what Jesus came to proclaim.
So, that is what He is proclaiming when we see him at a home in Capernaum in chapter 2. He is inside this house, and there are like thousands of people around, filling the house, as well as all gathered around the house. Then these other guys enter the scene. They’ve brought their friend with them–their friend who is paralyzed. He is laying on a mat, unable to move. But they’ve probably heard of Jesus. And they know He can do something about their friend. Well, obviously they can’t get in the house. So, they walk up to the roof, which would have been made out of straw (thatched) material and flat. And they just dug out a whole big enough to lower their friend down. They knew that this was important, that their friend must see this Jesus. They did everything they could to get him there. They put their faith in this Jesus they had probably only heard rumors about. They staked everything they had on the opportunity for Jesus to help their friend out.
And Jesus saw their faith. Faith, the belief in things unseen, as Hebrews 11:1 puts it? We usually don’t think of faith that way. We think of faith as a belief, an idea, an intangible thing. But faith in the Greek simply did not convey that thinking. In the Greek, faith was a fact–you put everything you had into this. You acted upon that firm foundation of faith. It wasn’t just, “I believe,” it was, “I believe, therefore, I do…” They believed Jesus could help their friend. So, they took their friend to Him.
And Jesus said to the man, “You sins are forgiven.” I can imagine a bit of shock ripple through those friends’ hearts. Well, that’s great and all, but…don’t you see…he’s paralyzed. Aren’t you going to do something about that? I can see tears spring up. I know I would’ve. But they also saw the importance of this, because the Jewish faith said that sin was what would’ve caused this man’s condition. But still, they probably expected a more physical change. But there is this connection here that cannot be missed. Their faith would have said that because this man’s inner condition would need to be changed before his outer condition. These two parts of us–let’s call them, the physical and spiritual (haha…we had this discussion in on of my classes yesterday…)–are intertwined.
However, the scribes heard Jesus say this, and were completely ticked off. Only God can forgive sins! This man is blaspheming! But Jesus knew better. Immediately, Mark says, He said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your mat and walk.’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the paralytic–“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And the man did just that. And the people’s jaws hit the floor–I hope his friends didn’t fall from the roof! They were amazed and said, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” They gave glory to God.
First question, Can we still be amazed by this? That Jesus does heal. That is how many people come to know Him. I’ll put an example to pray for at the end of this post, from a village around where I was at this summer in South Asia 🙂
So, think about the question Jesus posed to the scribes? The physical and spiritual are intertwined, but not as they thought. They thought the physical ailments were caused by the spiritual condition of the person, or even his parents. But Jesus said, no, especially in another miracle later on, about a man born blind (check it out in John 9), the physical is given a purpose, for God’s glory. That was the response of the crowd after they saw this. Jesus healed the man physically after He healed him spiritually (again, God still does this, to draw people to Himself and to salvation!), to show His power over both the physical and spiritual.
So, some other questions and then someone to pray for who needs healing and the Savior.
Has my life been radically changed? This guy was paralyzed. But Jesus healed him. Now he could walk. Are we walking like we’ve been healed in this way? We have been healed in our hearts. We were paralyzed. We were dead. Now we’re alive. Now we can walk. Have people seen that change? Are we still allowing Him to change us daily?
Are we truly walking? Have we gotten, pick our mat off the floor, and walked away, radically forever changed? Never looking back to before? What mat is keeping us down? Will we resolve to get up and walk? Jesus has healed us–inside and out! What are we doing about it?!
Wow, this is really long. Hope it spoke to you though. It is challenging my socks off!
Here is someone to pray for from a village in South Asia!