Discover His heart: He sees and responds to our faith
Youth today often get a bad rap in the press. Yes, they are facing some significant struggles because of the evils of our day, but not all have bowed to the god of this age. Across the country on any given day, thousands of teenagers will gather to worship the true and living God. They gather in churches, at school flagpoles and anywhere the name of Jesus is lifted up, gathered to pray for their country, their homes and their friends.
Many teenagers work all year long and save money to travel to foreign lands during their summer breaks, not as a tourist, but as missionaries delivering the Good News. They give their strength and energy to aid in disaster relief around the world. Nothing thrills me more than to see thousands of youth gathered together in rowdy praise and worship to the Lord – I think it makes Him smile. Mark was older when he wrote his gospel, but at one time he was a young follower of Jesus and some of the participants in our reading today were young and full of faith.
@ Mark 2
Mark was not one of the twelve disciples, but it is evident that he was a disciple of Jesus, a young follower, who recorded more miracles of Jesus in his book than the other gospels contain. Even today in this world of skepticism, nothing excites a group of young people more than a bona fide miracle like the one told by Mark in Chapter 2. A paralyzed young man’s friends tore open the roof of the crowded home where Jesus was speaking in order to lower him down right in front of Jesus. Awesome!
“Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’”(5) Although He knew that the man was placed in front of him for physical healing, Jesus chose to bring healing first to his soul by forgiving him of his sins. Sitting in the house that day was a group of religious leaders that probably was not there in a supporting role, but rather one of judgment and criticism of this new teacher in town. In light of Jewish custom, it was their view that forgiveness of sins was necessary before a body could be healed, sin being the original cause of all sickness, pain and suffering. In forgiving the sick man, Jesus had their attention. The religious leaders were correct in saying only God could forgive sins – they just did not accept that they were talking to God.
Now that Jesus had the attention of everyone present, He healed the man’s body as well, and the miraculous healing of his body added credibility to the miraculous healing of his soul. The crowd was stunned with shock and awe! They praised God for this miracle, but most of them did not understand that it was Jesus they were praising as well.
“Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’” Apparently, Jesus knew the paralyzed man believed in Him, or his sins could not be forgiven, but the word says He saw their faith – those tenacious men who so believed in this miracle worker that they tore up the roof to get their friend to Him.
This causes me to question – will I tear up the roof, so to speak, on behalf of those who are in need of healing, whether physical, spiritual or emotional? Will He see my faith and confidence in Him? When I pray for others, do I really believe He will heal them? The bottom line according to Mark 2 is that He sees when I believe and He responds to that belief. Jesus is never fooled. It humbles me to know that my faith carries this potential.
Moving Forward: Unlike the religious leaders, I know who I am talking to when I pray – the true and living God! I will tear up the roof on behalf of those who need healing of any kind today because I know He sees my faith.
Tomorrow @ I Corinthians 7-8