Monday, February 2, 2015

Walk By Faith

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Revolution in Columbia, SC as a youth leader with an awesome group of kids. I used to attend conferences like these when I was in youth groups myself, but this was a totally different experience for me. There was something so touching and peaceful in being in an auditorium of nearly 2,000 teenagers so lost in God that nothing else mattered.
    The speaker, Jonathan McKee, used Mark 2:1-12 in one of his lessons: 
     A few days later, when Jesus again 
     entered Capernaum, the people heard  
     that he had come home. They 
     gathered in such large numbers that 
     there was no room left, not even
     outside the door, and he preached the 
     word to them. Some men came, 
     bringing to him a paralyzed man,
     carried by four of them. 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 lowering the mat
     the man was lying on. When Jesus 
     saw their faith, he said to the 
     paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are 
     Now some teachers of the law were 
     sitting there, thinking to themselves, 
     "Why does this fellow talk like that? 
     He's blaspheming! Who can forgive     
     sins but God alone?" 
     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?
     Which is easier: to say to this 
     paralyzed man, 'Your sins are 
     forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take 
     your mat and walk'? But I want you to
     know that the Son of Man has 
     authority on earth to forgive sins."
     So he said to the man, "I tell you, get 
     up, take your mat and go home." 
     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!"
                                 Mark 2:1-12 (NIV)

     I remember hearing this story over and over in Sunday School and whenever the many miracles performed by Jesus was discussed. However, I never heard the whole story. Maybe I just didn't listen until now, but I don't ever remember hearin that he didn't heal the man right away. I guess it just goes to show that we never stop learning. 
I love when we can learn so many different lessons from one story. So, coming from a twenty year old, here's what I learned:
1. Sometimes all it takes is faith. These men knew that Jesus was going to be there, so they went knowing that their friend could possibly walk after seeing Jesus. Most people would turn around and go home after they saw such a large crowd, not these guys. They carried this grown man on a roof, dug a hole in this roof, and lowered him to Jesus. Woah, that's commitment. 

2. God knows what we need, even when we don't. Seeing their faith, Jesus forgives the paralyzed man's sins. If I went to see Jesus thinking that all I needed to be happy and live my life was the ability to walk, I might be pretty shocked when he tells me I'm forgiven, but I still can't walk. But all we really need is his grace, which he always gives freely. 

3. God always knows what were thinking. 
Uh oh. Always? Yes, always. No one said anything out loud about Jesus forgiving sins, they thought it, to themselves. But Jesus quickly taught them that he is the Son of Man and had that authority to do so. Maybe we should be more careful of where we let our mind go. 

4. God really wants us happy, too. He could have just let the man go without healing him physically, but he knew what the man really wanted, so he was able to get up, take his mat and go home. 

These are the things we love about our Savior. He loves us unconditionally and wants what is best for us. That's the God we serve, and what a mighty God he is. 

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