Road Trip Sermon Series Week #10 Devotional
July 30, 2018
See below for an audio version of the following devotional.
TEXT: Mark 2:1-12
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 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!”
Judy Dierker was a kind friend to hurting people. On weekdays she would often and regularly take the chronically ill to the medical center for ongoing treatment. On Sundays I frequently saw her sitting in church next to an elderly person whom she had driven to church. She befriended many people who could not fully care for themselves.
In the scripture lesson we read about four guys who did just that. They carried a paralyzed man on a stretcher to Jesus. While others flocked to Jesus to be blessed by his teaching and miraculous power, these guys came to seek a blessing for someone else. But when they got to the house where Jesus was teaching, it was so crowded they couldn’t get anywhere near the young rabbi. No one made way for them. Talk about missing the point of what Jesus taught. Everyone was so focused on getting close to Jesus that they blocked the paralytic from reaching Jesus. Thank goodness the friends didn’t give up easily. Can you imagine the commotion they caused, the hushing and the dirty looks they got when they proceeded to hoist the man to the top of the house and opened a big hole in the roof? Can you see the dirty looks they got from the dust-covered followers of Jesus below as the guys began to lower their friend into the presence of Jesus? But he wasn’t put off in the least. I love how the text points out that when Jesus saw the faith of the friends, he forgave the man’s sin and healed him.
There is a proverb that says, One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
This man could not bring himself to Jesus on account of his circumstances. He had to rely on the faithfulness of his friends to experience the grace of God. But even then, the fervent followers of Jesus blocked his way. They were so intent of hearing the sermon that they missed the message.
Like the time when Jesus was teaching and people started to bring their children for him to bless them. “When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
This week I encourage you to think about who you should go out of your way to bring to church where they can experience the wholeness of God’s grace. Surely it starts with your children and grandchildren. But it doesn’t stop with them. Are there neighbors, relatives, co-workers, fellow students who don’t have the faith or means to come on their own?
John Wesley, founder of Methodism, reminds us that caring for another is the highest calling. He said…
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
- Are you going out of your way to bring others to Jesus?
- How are you helping others, especially the disenfranchised, to gain access to God’s healing grace?
- Do you make others feel welcome in church?