This week I am away for a time of study, rest, and prayer. I’ve found it to be a needful time to get away and commune with Jesus. This time also gives me the ability to reflect a little more deeply about our ministry. I’m thankful to our elders for recognizing this need and encouraging me to take the time. With all of that in mind, I want to share with you a brief couple of thoughts from my morning devotional time in Mark 2. Would you join me in spending some unhurried time in Mark 2:1-12?
Wednesday, September 16th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Mark 2
Particular emphasis - Mark 2:1-12
Reflecting on the Text:
The early chapters of Mark seem to open up like a whirlwind. Jesus has begun his ministry in and around Galilee and the crowds are instinctively drawn to Him. They’ve either seen or heard of His power combined with His compassion, and they are captivated by His authoritative teaching. He is not a stodgy religious figure. He is someone they deeply, desperately want to be with.
With that background, this passage tells us about four friends who brought their paralytic friend to see Jesus. As they came to the house where Jesus was teaching, they realized there was no way they could push through the crowd. But they had to get their friend to Jesus, so they climbed on the roof of the house, peeled a portion of the thatch away, and then lowered him into the room.
It is a fantastic picture of friends who were relentless in their efforts to connect their buddy to Jesus. You can only imagine what the people in the house thought when the paralytic was lowered, but we don’t have to imagine what Jesus thought. He looked up and verse 5 tells us He saw the faith of the friends.
What comes next tells us something about their faith and challenges us in ours. When Jesus recognized their faith, His first instinct was to do for the paralytic what was most needful. He forgave him.
You know I’ve always read this passage and wondered how the friends might have responded to this, but this morning as I read, I believe the Spirit gave me a new insight. Jesus saw and responded to their faith. This faith then must have been a trusting faith. These friends trusted Jesus to do what was most needful for their paralytic friend. Sure, they would have liked for Jesus to have healed him, but in faith they trusted Him with whatever He would do, knowing that Jesus’ work in the man would be perfect.
Oh, He would go on to heal the man, all the while interacting with the religious leaders and making a clear statement of His divinity. Those points are all in the passage, but for now, can we just consider and reflect on the friends’ faith? I’ve been asking myself if I have this kind of faith. Do you?
Are you willing to trust Jesus with your plans? Are you willing to trust Jesus with your loved ones? Are you willing to trust that Jesus is at work in ways that we may not be able to see and are you willing to let Him simply be at work? Or do you feel the need to step in and do the work for Him? Mind you, as I ask these questions, I’ve been pondering them myself.
Jesus calls us to pray and to pray specifically. No doubt the friends would have specifically asked for healing. But Jesus saw in them a trusting faith. Based on that faith, He first healed the man of his sins, and then He healed his paralysis. Let us have that kind of faith.
Questions for personal reflection:
Do you have the faith to trust Jesus with your loved ones?
How might this understanding of faith impact your prayers?