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Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

As we look at the Red Letters today, I want to stick with this story we have been talking about all week. Today I want to observe two interesting facets in Jesus’ healing ministry.

"But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”--then He said to the paralytic--“Rise, take up your bed, and go home.” ~ Matthew 9:6

So, I want to be more like Jesus, in the way I do everything. Don’t you?

Have you ever noticed that Jesus never prayed for the sick? He did not pray and ask God to do something. In fact Jesus tells us specifically how He does what He does.

Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.  ~ John 5:19 (NKJV)

So, according to Jesus, rather than pray for God to heal this sick man, Jesus looks at what the Father is doing, and acts as the hands of God on earth to bring about what the Father is doing in heaven.

Don’t get me wrong here, I do think we need to pray, but perhaps the prayer we should be praying is “Lord, help me see what you are doing right here and right now.” [Tweet this] Of course then we might find ourselves making mud out of our spit, or writing in the dirt, or even declaring that someone’s sins are forgiven.

The second observation I want to make is that He often adds a call to action to His ministry.

I know when someone comes to me for prayer, there are times when I ask God to do something in their life, and I walk away hopeful.

Jesus expected and inspected. He ministered in whatever way He saw the Father ministering, and then checked it out with a call to action.

Rise, take up your bed, and go home.

One time in our home group, during a time of prayer we prayed for the shoulder of one of our members. We laid our hands on her, and then we just went on with the meeting. Later that evening she was talking and pointed up in the air for some reason, I don’t remember that part, but what I will never forget is the look on her face when she realized all the pain in her shoulder was gone.

We laughed and rejoiced, but I realized that we should have inspected right away to see what the Lord had done, so we could have given Him the glory due Him sooner.

When you pray for someone to be healed, I encourage you to ask them to do what they could not do before.

There is an account in Jesus ministry where He ministered to a man who was blind, and when He asked Him if He could see, the once blind man said:

I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking about. ~ Mark 8:24

Then check out what happens next:

Then again He (Jesus) laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. ~ Mark 8:25

The Son of God, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, needed to touch this man twice in order to fully heal him.

If He (Jesus) had prayed or ministered once and walked away, the man would have been better off than before, but still impaired. Jesus stuck with Him and saw it through.

So perhaps, though I only promised two observations, we have a bonus observation before us.

Don’t quit!

Let’s recap.

  1.  See what the Father is doing. Let your prayer be, for your own sight, and partnership with the Father’s hand.
  2. Check for results
  3. Don’t just move on, if your first attempt at ministry is unsuccessful or does not bring the results you were looking for.

One last caveat, if in the end your ministry does not change the circumstance, realize there are many factors at play, way more than we can understand. Be sure the person you are praying for has been loved, and is not left feeling condemned or worse off than you found them. Does that make sense?

Ben NelsonHey, thanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

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Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

Jesus is teaching a bunch of folks, seems like it might take place in His own house, as I look at the various tellings between Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Four men have a friend who is paralyzed, and they bring him to Jesus to be healed. They can’t get into the house, so the climb up on the room, and using some ropes, lower their friend down in front of Jesus.

So – What are you going to do now Jesus? You have the home field advantage, and this guy everyone knows has been crippled for ages. You could show them once and for all that you are in fact moving with the finger of God here on earth. You could stop all the naysayers, and get your own hometown behind you. You might even get some of the Pharisee’s to believe.

But Jesus jumps the rails. He gets tossed this easy pitch, and what does He do? He  changes the game.

Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. ~ Matthew 9:2

Sins? Who said anything about sins?

You may say that Jesus talked about his sin because that was his deeper need, and that is true, but I believe we can get at least one more lesson here.

Forgiveness and healing are never far parted in the Bible.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities;
Who heals all your diseases ~ Psalm 103:1-2

But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ~ Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

Why the link? Why does Jesus stop the show and show us both healing and forgiveness?

Perhaps He is demonstrating to the people in the room, that He was not just an amazing healer, but that He was here to bring deliverance to the whole man.

Perhaps He was bringing attention to this permanent link between forgiveness and healing.

"But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins--then He said to the paralytic--“Rise, take up your bed, and go home." ~ Matthew 9:6

One piece of this that is of interest to me, is that forgiveness is not immediately visible from the outside, whereas healing is. When Jesus forgives the sins of this man, there is no visible change.

This may lead us to believe it takes more faith to be healed then to be forgiven, but this is not so.

The problem is the good news about forgiveness has been preached for hundreds of years, and the good news about the fact that Jesus heals has been much less prevalent. As we meditate more and more on the total salvation offered by Jesus, we see more and more men and women saved, healed and delivered.

I am so glad Jesus took the time to give us this lesson in His wonderful salvation.

Ben NelsonAren’t you?

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

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Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

This story of the paralytic who was carried to the Master by four of his friends appears in 3 of the gospels. Each of course has it’s own highlights and details.

I particularly like how it starts out in Luke’s gospel.

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. ~ Luke 5:17 (NKJV)

I love this note at the end of this first part of Luke’s tale. “the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” This intrigues me.

Luke wrote this work as a documentation of historical facts, and probably worked from Mark’s earlier account for laying out the events, but clearly gathered information from other first hand witnesses.

It is clear to me that someone he spoke with was aware of the presence of a particular power that accompanied Jesus. I suppose it could be that he is simply stating the fact that since Jesus was there, and He heals folks, that the power of the Lord was there to heal or perhaps the fact that He was teaching, and His teaching was almost always accompanied by healing. Or it may be that someone in the room had been around the Lord when He healed in the past and was able to see the tell tale signs of this healing virtue, or power.

Do you remember the account of the woman with the issue of blood? It says virtue, or power flowed out of Jesus when she touched the hem of His garment, and He sensed this flow of power.

I believe that is what the writer is talking about here, a palpable sense of the power of the Lord to heal, that someone who had been around Him for a while would be able to discern.

The sad part here is that there was a house full of people who were not there to receive, they were there to pass judgment.

Who does this youngster think He is?

I taught Him to read and write, and now He thinks He is something?

What is all the fuss? Isn’t He the one who made my dining room table?

How do you approach the Lord and His word?

How do you listen when the word is preached? Are you a judge, or a recipient.

I have a really simple point today.

Next time you sit under the preaching or teaching of the word, take off your Pharisee’s robes, and put on your student’s (disciple’s) tunic.

The Sun of Righteousness comes with healing in His wings. (Malachi 4:2)

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

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