15-10-23 - SEARCHING UNDER LAMP POSTS or TEARING UP ROOFS? Mark 2:1-12
Updated: Oct 16
- Personal Quote -
We are living in difficult times right now with terrible events with wars in parts of this beautiful world, and posting messages every week with the Word of God makes me go deep in thinking that we are living in times in which for some reason they are happening. How it is possible people can live with so much hate and anger between each other, nation against nation, power against power? I've been having so much sadness in realizing how it is possible we can't see closely that the enemy is out trying to destroy our FAITH in the most incredible truth that we have around us which is JESUS, He warned us times back that this can happen and that we can and have to be prepared for this, He was very clear teaching us the way we can be protected not to lose our FAITH to be firm in it and no dismayed as if we trust in Him, he will never forsake us and that is a fact. I think our Lord Jesus our King of Kings is looking at us with sadness and He is looking at his Promised Land at war again fighting for possession between brothers and sisters. Let's pray for the Leaders of the world with prayers for those Countries at war, for all the people that are suffering from death and devastation and ask our Lord to give the Leaders wisdom and acknowledgment of different minds in seeing the world, finding the peace and harmony for living together as God wants us to live, under the amazing love that Jesus (God) teaches us to live as well, we pray in Jesus name as he said that He is the way and life and that will be true by Him that God our Father will listen our prayers AMEN!
MESSAGE BY PASTOR ROB INRIG FROM
BETHANY BAPTIST IN RICHMOND, BC.
He stood there, under a lamppost frantically searching for his keys. As he did, a man came along and offered his assistance. As a good rationalist, he suggested they divide the area into squares and after searching the area, they could check off the appropriate square. After searching for awhile the keys were just as lost as before. Noting their failure, a behaviourist came along and suggested they reward themselves with M&Ms after they searched an area. In that way, the search could remain focused. Scoffing these approaches, a psychoanalyst stepped in, suggesting they delve deeper by examining great losses experienced in the past. While this proved entertaining, it was as ineffective as all the others. Finally, those promoting support groups entered the picture. They knew that the only chance of discovery was with the support of others. They quickly got on Facebook and X to gain the support of others who had experienced loss. But at last, tired and discouraged, supporters packed up and went home.
When they’d gone, someone asked the man who’d lost his keys, “Where were you when you lost them?”
About 150’ up the way.
“Well, why are you looking here?”
“Because the light is better”.
Okay, I admit what I began with is undeniably foolish. I mean who does that? yet it’s not far removed from how we often try to regain what we’ve lost in a once vibrant relationship with Jesus. Somewhere we lost something and ever since, we’ve been searching for that which was lost – never realizing that He is 150’ away from the place we got lost.
We read more books, go to more seminars, and even work in some snatch-a-moment prayers and at the end of the day, we pack up our placards, our megaphones and our M&Ms and go home
As simplistic as it sounds, our place of finding what was lost is rediscovering Jesus. Not with old views but with a new look. A look I hope you took notice of last week during Sibel’s joyous celebration of her baptism. As we walk into the pages of Mark we want to place our feet in the places He put His. We want to sit at the table He sat and to feed from a basket His hands held. To see Him. Watch Him, Touch Him, Listen to Him. Be with Him. To hear the laughter and taste the joy.
And in those places, be re-amazed as we encounter the Son of God in the flesh given to us so we may more fully know His love. Ultimately the greatest revelation of His love was at the Cross and a Tomb. Nowhere are we given greater encounters of His love and power than these.
But we also want to see Him as He touches a blind man’s eyes and he rubs a young child’s head. As He speaks peace into the face of a storm and as He calls out a name to a man who hides in a tree.
Because though we don’t often think of it this way, we are those same people. Different circumstances, same people. The ones to whom He came – not for us to read about but to understand that we were that blind one; we were that nameless one; we were that storm tossed one; the forgotten we thought no one saw. So the invitation this morning, come back to where you got lost and take a closer look.
Read Mark 2:1-12
In recent days, those living in Capernaum had their understanding of Jesus change. To them He’d always been Joseph and Mary’s son, obviously bright but One with whom they were familiar.
But this time upon His return, He was no longer familiar. If things said of Him were true, He could no longer be described as that. No, Mark 1:21 tells us that the reaction to Him was amazement. And when He cast out the demonic, Scripture tells us again, all those who watched were amazed, the Greek word actually means ‘out of their minds’ Walvoord & Zuck. Beside themselves. Dumbfounded. Mouth gaping wide, Astonished.
And no wonder: His teaching changing lives. His teaching giving answers to life’s hardest questions. His teaching not some textbook truth or some heart-warming, bumper sticker platitudes. No wonder His listeners were amazed. They had never heard anything like this!
But there was more, far more. So much so that, all the sick and demon possessed, the whole city, gathered at his door. Jesus doing the extraordinary - healing broken lives; resurrecting broken marriages; breathing life into dead hopes and dead dreams.
Things we often relegate to a time past but what if these are the same places we are invited to – to see Jesus? Not with our shopping lists of the things He could improve for us but to see Him as He truly is and allow that encounter to make us completely new.
Possible? YES. And no. It depends on what you and I are prepared to see and how close you and I are willing to come. In what He was doing, Jesus got the attention of the religious. Luke tells us the religious leaders came from all over Galilee and from as far off as Judea and Jerusalem, some travelling days to get there. 5:17
I think it likely that some of these leaders were genuinely curious, hoping that perhaps this could be the long awaited Messiah. But for the few who came with curiosity, many more came to judge, with no intention of being changed. Judging as they had done in the past, finding, that long-awaited, their judgments about these self-proclaimed, so-called ‘messiahs’ were true.
It was fitting for them to have questions about Jesus. How could you not? But the problem with the scribes weren’t their questions; it was that their minds were already made up; their sentence already declared. It’s these unspoken things that Jesus described as evil.Jesus caught them in their thoughts that He was a blasphemer and so He asks, “Why are you thinking these things? Mk 2:8 Jesus seeing their hearts which should have put them on the alert askedreminding them of what Jeremiah said, I, the Lord search the heart. Jer 17:10 or Samuel’s words, People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Sam 16:7
Jesus then, and now, has no difficulty with those sincerely looking for answers. God always responds to honest questions though answers may come differently or less clearly than what we may like. But He always answers an honest heart in a way He knows is best. Sometimes those ways are less satisfying than we might like and less timely than we might hope but they will always be in the way that best achieves His purposes for our lives. His purposes like what we see in what we have just read, in the actions of 5 men who are desperate for answers:
I’m not sure what these men thought when they showed up at the house where Jesus was teaching. Certainly with the news of people being healed and demons cast out, they expected others to be there. So large crowds couldn’t have surprised them.
After all, that’s what brought them here – their faith alive with hope after hearing the accounts. This compelling them to get to Jesus, 1 man and 4 friends - determined to meet Jesus. Nothing else mattered. Previous plans re-arranged. Jobs - set aside.
Let me ask, can you and I say the same thing? That meeting Jesus is an imperative, beyond all else? Where lesser things are let go. Where other commitments are re-assigned. Meeting Him so my life can be changed. So the paralysis we experience can be brought back to life.
If you’re like me, there are so many other things that get in front of you – the friend I must meet, the program I must watch, the game I can’t miss. But not these ones. They chose a ‘no obstacle’ faith where nothing would get in their way of coming to Christ.
So when crowds were too big, the lines too long, the Master too busy; the time too late - they pushed through - undeterred.
Because their friend needed to get to Jesus.
Pretty compelling. Pretty convicting. Doing what is necessary to get to Christ. Again, I can’t help but ask the question, to what lengths will I g, to get to Christ?
To see Him in such a way that my reason for living is Him. So I will be changed. Not so my marriage will be changed or my business will be changed or my success will be changed but so I will be changed. Not because of what He will do FOR me but because of what He will do IN me.
Coming close to Jesus we discover His heart and recognize His voice. Places where we are amazed and places where we bow to His authority.
Changed in such a way that my marriage is changed and my business changed, my relationships are changed not because they are different BUT because I am different. My ongoing encounter with Jesus fills my life with purpose meaning and joy. That my relationship with Jesus isn’t a religious thing, it is a discovering ‘how to do life’ thing. More than that, it is how I will do life things for all eternity.
In that way, I am a walking testimony directing others to Jesus so they too can know that their paralysis can find life - when relationships fracture and when priorities come up empty. Hope and life are where the real truth is found. Helping people understand what God says is true rather than what culture says is true. Bringing people to Christ as the only One who can speak with authority into the deepest areas of life.
Not by being preachy. Not by speaking Christian ‘feel goods’ but as lives that are attractive, life-giving reflections of Jesus. People who love. People who are compassionate. But for this to be true, that might mean having to move 150’ from the place we’ve allowed our faith to settle into.
Which returns us to a paralyzed man and four incredible friends.
We aren’t told but I would guess the man’s paralysis is the result of a calamitous event rather than a condition from birth. I say this because of the deep connection these 5 men had. I suspect that in the past, these 5 collaborated on pranks, blazed trails and scaled walls. Their bond was so strong, their love for one another so deep that they thought and acted as one.
How else to explain the incredible loyalty and love that caused these 4 to risk much for the sake of a friend they knew as far more than a nameless, ‘mat’ person? How else to explain ripping apart a neighbour’s roof? Don’t you think they knew the costs their damage would cause? Don’t you think they knew the potential shame their actions might bring?
But they were compelled by hope. Most of all, they were compelled by faith. Because Jesus was the only one who had the answers they needed. There weren’t any other options. No other avenues to explore. This was it.
My problem and I suspect yours, is that we really don’t believe getting to Jesus is everything, the only hope we have - not the way these ones did. Our life is working not perfectly but sufficiently. And when it doesn’t, we just run faster hoping to make it work.
But having an all-out love and pursuit of Jesus? Not going there, at least as a first priority.
Not these 4. When their path was blocked, they devised a plan, a plan I assure you wasn’t told to anyone.
And so laboriously, they removed tiles, digging furiously and in a wide swath. Okay, perhaps they removed a mass of palm fronds but this wasn’t any 2’ x 2’ sunroof. There wasn’t anything surgical about it. It had to be big enough to lower a man.
Can you imagine the sentiments of those below, as the ruckus got louder and the rain of dirt got thicker? The audacity of these 4 and the presumption of this one.
The scribes and religious leaders must have been ticked. They’d travelled some distance for this meeting. Didn’t these 4 know, this was a serious meeting with serious people? What were these demolition diggers and rope holders thinking?
But you know what? the paralytic’s friends don’t care. They don’t care if they ruin a roof. They don’t care if they upset a meeting. They don’t care if they rain branches and dirt on those gathered below. All they care about is that they have a friend who can’t walk.
And that drove them to lower their friend into a room to meet Jesus.
DARING FAITH - that didn’t let cost get in the way.
DARING FAITH - that didn’t let what will people think? get in the way.
DARING FAITH - that didn’t let the situation’s too far gone get in the way
FAITH – that was willing to risks, believing that meeting Jesus is greater than any risk.
FAITH – that was willing to see what others weren’t willing to see
FAITH - that was willing to act not caring that others may think them foolish
Let me ask, is there anything about our faith that can be described as daringly bold? Faith that is willing to act despite what others may think, despite what others may say?
Understand, faith is NOT about what you and I can muster up. It is NOT based on how many years you’ve been a Christian or the number of faith seminars you’ve attended.
Faith is completely about the object of our FAITH. There is only one thing that determines the quality of our faith and that is the OBJECT of our faith. The more Christ-centred we are, the more faith-filled we will be.
Hebrews tells me, Without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God, for He who comes to God must believe that He IS and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
11:6 Not believing He IS as in He exists, but believing He IS as in He is GOD Supreme, God All-Powerful. So Supreme, so Powerful that what He says is true; what He promises is sure. Whether they knew it or not, that was the determination the people in the house were here to make.
It is also the same determination you and I are to make – most importantly for our eternal destiny but also importantly, how we are to live our lives right here, right now. “Is He who He declares Himself to be? Is He One on whom you trust your life? Is He One on whom you trust your eternity?” It’s not a historical question – it’s a right here, right now question.
If we want our Christian experience to come alive, fill it with Christ. Really look with fresh eyes and an open heart. Be amazed at who He is and the love He has for you. Be amazed that despite all our shortcomings, failures, and doubts, He invites you to come, calling you by name.
That same invitation would soon be directly in front of the crowd:
Once shovels stopped digging and dirt stopped falling would He, could He do for this man what no one else could do? Did He have the ability to bring life into paralysis – a place declared dead? This wasn’t just about healing a skin disease or stopping a bleed that wouldn’t stop. This was about limbs that have ceased to function. About legs and arms that have long operated without life. The whole room waits expectantly... what will He say? What will He do? As the man was lowered before Him, be assured those who sat at Jesus’ feet, got up and scrambled out of the way. They had arrived early for the privilege of meeting with Jesus only to experience this?
Dismayed and annoyed, they brushed off the dirt as they jostled for space and pushed back into the already crowded room. Finally, on the floor in front of Jesus... in the space they once occupied ... a space opened up for this man on a mat.
This man in the spotlight of the public was hardly what he wanted but now here he was front and center. But most eyes weren’t on him. THEY WERE ON JESUS. Watching. Waiting.
As they waited, Jesus looked up to see 8 eyes peering down then looked down to see two eyes looking up. And then He looks away from those whose faith was revealed in lowered ropes and a newly made skylight.
Unlike the others, dirt and branches have fallen into His hair and onto His clothes, still clinging to Him as if He had come for this very purpose. The dirt doesn’t bother Him almost as if He had prepared to take the dirt upon Himself. It was an amazing spectacle – the desperately needy before the One who came to meet desperate needs.
AND then, Jesus does the most bizarre thing: He says to the man: "Your sins are forgiven.” Not your paralysis is gone and your new future has begun. But your sins are forgiven.
His 4 friends must have wondered, ‘What on earth?’ The man we brought to you is hardly that. A sinner? Who had he hurt? What offence had he committed? What secret life did he hide?
But Jesus goes to the heart of the man’s need and the heart of why Jesus came. To save and forgive sin. But understand there is strong truth in relating this man’s paralysis to sin. Why? Because all sickness, all disease, all evil is a result of sin. The atrocities done in Israel by Hamas all birthed and carried out by sin – consequences of a world that has rejected God. So while giving this man new legs and new arms would benefit him for a time, there is a far greater need of having our sin forgiven which speaks to his and our eternal soul. The body would wear out whether in 20 years or 80. But his soul would last forever. And the answer for a paralyzed soul is not renovation or beautification, it is transformation. It’s dealing with our sin question.
“Your sins are forgiven.” As is typical, Mark is sparse in his description. Matthew captures a far more lovely picture of Christ’s encounter, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 9:2 Take heart – all the ways your heart has been lost, all the ways your heart has been wounded, all the ways your heart has broken – Take heart!!!
And He adds one more word that speaks hope – SON. You’re not just a condition. You’re a SON. In that context, Jesus speaks, “Your sins are forgiven.”
We might miss the impact of what Jesus said but the religious authorities sure didn’t. Thinking to themselves – Why is this fellow saying this? Only God can forgive sin and say this without any sacrifices made, without any rabbinic priest present.
There it was. What they had come to hear. Words were spoken that they had come to judge. Words they couldn’t get past. As if any man can forgive sin. Which is true. And to these paralyzed dead hearts, Jesus was no more than another imposter, a belief that kept them from truly encountering Christ. I wonder do you and I do much the same?
I can’t give you all the reasons why Jesus said, your sins are forgiven but one thing is clear, He wanted everyone to know, that He was the Messiah who hadn’t come to heal, He’d come to forgive.
Jesus declares Himself as God who alone can forgive sin. Only God can speak with all authority. Only God can bring the dead back to life. Only God. In order that you might know – authority is MINE! For you and I that means repentance.
But the problem is forgiven sin can’t be seen so Jesus puts before them evidence of His authority that can be seen, “Take up your mat and walk”. And in answer to that command, his legs now miraculously working so he could stand. Arms miraculously moved so he could gather up a mat.
Your sin is forgiven
Only God can forgive sin? That question standing before you right now. Roll up your mat.
Roll it up – as a reminder of who you were. Roll it up so you will never forget how your sin left you for dead. Roll it up so you remember how it left you without a name. Roll it up so you remember how it left you without hope. That you were mat confined and mat defined. Roll it up and take a new and fresh look at Him.
You, now looking as – a son. You, now looking as one known by name
You, now looking as one whose been given life everlasting.
Look closely at THIS Jesus and be amazed.