Make Your Mark – Part 2

Today we continue to look at the book of Mark, which is an action packed gospel. In the first chapter, Jesus started off with some ministry which we are usually a bit scared of. Healing and deliverance. Let’s take a look at what He gets up to in the second chapter. More healing, but this time with a twist. I’d like to take a look at some interesting things about this healing, and how Jesus challenged the social thinking of the day.

What do you find strange about the healing of the paralysed man? I find it interesting that the friends are so determined to get the man to Jesus. Now days we want things easy, we want the quick fix, the 5 easy steps, the simple solution. We don’t want to work for anything. Now I am not saying that we have to earn our healing, I am saying that we have to have faith. These guys believed so much that Jesus could and would heal their friend, that they went through all the effort of making a whole in the roof and lowering the guy down. I often find people who question faith in healing, usually because faith suggests that we play a part, but people think that it is all down to Jesus. The power is down to Jesus, the faith up to us. Just take a look at verse 5, it was because of their faith that Jesus healed the man. That is clear to me. The next thing that I find interesting, is that Jesus forgave the man’s sins, instead of healing him. Jesus then asked if it easier to say to the paralysed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? What do you think He meant by this? I think that they are the same thing. Sodzo. Click on the word to read the article about Sodzo. The word for healing and the word for salvation is the same word, which is also the word for deliverance. Sodzo. You see Jesus was pretty much saying, you have seen me deliver people, you have seen me heal people, now watch me forgive someone’s sins. This is what the Kingdom of God is about. This is what we get wrong now days. We are all about salvation, but we seriously drop the ball with the other things.

Jesus then goes on to upset the religious rulers by doing things that don’t quite fit with their ideas on how religion should be done. He has meals with ‘scum’ like tax collectors, His disciples didn’t fast when others were, and then they ‘worked’ on the sabbath. These were all things that were just not done in that culture, things that were not acceptable in religious circles. Jesus explained why He let these things happen, they were not anti-Jewish, He was merely showing the people how things had changed. He was showing them how the Kingdom of God worked. He was showing them how His death would change things. So if His death changed things, this should have no bearing on us now, right? Wrong. I couldn’t help but giggle when I read this passage, as I think that religious nonsense is ripe now days, people doing things because ‘that is how they have always’ done it. How often are Christians more concerned about doing ‘religious’ things, than they are about showing love to others? If you saw a prostitute in trouble, would you help them or think that it isn’t right to hang out with prostitutes? Now please don’t get me wrong, I have seen this go wrong on both ‘sides’. I am not saying that we should partake in dodgy activity and use the ‘we were witnessing to people there’ excuse. We are here to love people, not their actions. If you partake in their actions, you are in trouble. If you ignore them in their time of need, you are not doing what we are here to do. We have to find the balance of loving people, and pulling them out of their mess, without us getting sucked in. Jesus went to help these undesirable people, He didn’t partake in their actions.

There is on last thing that I would like to draw to your attention. Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. Jesus was making the point that He would not be on earth for long. Neither are we. Here is a question for you, why are you here? To worship God, to have a relationship with Jesus, to spend time with Jesus, to become more like Jesus? All of these are good, but they will all be easier once we are in heaven. The only thing that we can do now, which we can’t do in heaven, is hang out with unbelievers. This is our last chance to tell them about (and show them) the Kingdom of God. Are we making a difference? Are we using this opportunity? Are we having more of an influence on them than they are on us? I’ll leave this for you to decide.

Until next time.

Richard

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