December 14, 2016

Radical Faith

“We’ve never seen anything like this before.”  Mark 2:12b (NLT) 

What the world is looking for today is that which has never been seen before! Tired of religion and equally unimpressed with the religious leaders of their day, people were drawn to the message and miracles of Jesus. He spoke with authority and compassion, and He lived with authenticity. Speaking to a packed house, Mark tells us of four men who carried a paralyzed friend on a mat to see Jesus. Unable to get through the crowded house to Jesus, they went up on the roof and did something radical! They dug a hole in someone’s roof and lowered their paralyzed friend on a mat, right down in front of Jesus and the crowd gathered all around Him!  Imagine the scene! All the attention was, then, drawn to what was happening right in front of them. No matter what Jesus was saying, the moment took over and everyone must have wondered what Jesus would do. Wouldn’t you have loved to be in that house? I hope there’s a video of this when we get to heaven! Talk about a showstopper! Mark’s Gospel tells us what Jesus did.

“Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’” Mark 2:5 (NLT)

What? Wasn’t the expectation of the friends and the paralyzed man himself to be healed? Jesus dealt with the greater need first. Man’s deepest need is never physical – but spiritual! It’s the paralysis of sin that cripples our lives more than any other disease. Jesus dealt with the man’s primary need first: to be forgiven, no longer bound by sin. In fact, Jesus would use the occasion to demonstrate His Deity! The religious leaders in the crowd were offended! They knew that only God could forgive sin! They accused Jesus of blasphemy! Knowing what they were thinking, Jesus asked them,

“Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat and walk?’ So, I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” 

Then, Jesus performs the second miracle. He turns to the paralyzed man still on his mat and says, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 

“And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’” Mark 2:12 (NLT) 

I love that phrase, “They were all amazed….”  Radical faith opens the door for God to act in amazing ways.  Radical faith is seldom seen. What if we lived our lives in such a way that people said, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” It’s a demonstrable faith that shines like a bright light in a dark world and offers hope. It’s faith that reflects the very life of Christ indwelling us for which there is no other explanation but God!