Summary: Only God Can Forgive Sins, Physical vs. Spiritual
JAIL BREAK (Breaking the Chains of Unforgiveness) -
A Matter of Priorities
October 14, 2018
Mark 2:1-12 (p. 700)
One of my favorite stories of all time is found in Mike Yaconelli’s book “Messy Spirituality.” Chapter two is called, “The Place Our Messiness Meets Jesus.” And he ends the chapter with this story…where he was speaking at a college conference…
An older man with cerebral palsy sat in a motorized wheelchair, watching everyone else party. (He wasn’t a college student. Technically he wasn’t even supposed to be at the conference.) I was seated next to him, watching the students celebrate, when suddenly the wheelchair lunged into the celebration. The man’s arms waved, his chair careened around the room with a jerky, captivating motion, his mouth struggled open and shut making incomprehensible sounds. Somehow a man who couldn’t dance had become part of the graceful dancing of the crowd. Without warning, his motorized wheelchair lurched to the base of the stage, racing back and forth through a series of figure eights, twirls, and circles. He was laughing, lost in the joy of the Lord. His joy had taken a cold, ugly piece of motorized machinery and transformed it into an extension of his unconfined worship. He and his wheelchair had become one, a dancing, living thing. This man with a crippled body found a way to dance the undanceable.
I envy him. I want my crippled soul to escape the cold and sterile spirituality of a religion where only the perfect nondisabled get in. I want to lurch toward Jesus, where the unwelcome receive welcome and the unqualified get qualified. I want to hear Jesus tell me I can dance when everyone else says I can’t. I want to hear Jesus walk over and whisper to this handicapped, messy Christian, “Do you want to dance?”
Jesus began His public ministry by unrolling the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and reading “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Is. 61:1-2)
He rolls the scroll back up...looks around Him in the synagogue and says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
The dance has begun and everyone is invited to it. The wedding party has started...and the groom is here!
But there were many religious people, especially the Pharisees who believed they had an automatic invitation to the party…and that the party was exclusive…and certain people got invited…and when Jesus invited everyone…the poor, the blind, the prisoner, and the oppressed, it drove them crazy…“Who is this man to do the inviting?”
The Good News…the gospel, is that everyone is invited to the dance, but some can’t get there on their own…It takes:
I. FRIENDS THAT ARE WILLING TO CARRY US
Our story finds Jesus teaching in Capernaum and when the people learn He’s come home…they gather in such numbers to hear His message that there’s no room left…even outside the house He’s teaching in…everyone wants to hear Him…And Jesus’ message… “Whoever will may come.” Everyone is invited…
But there is an individual that can’t get there on his own…He’s paralyzed…He’s trapped in a physical jail where he is confined to a mat.
He can’t get through the crowd…He can’t get to Jesus on his own…and the truth of God’s plan is…“None of us can!!!”
Here is the mystical paradox of salvation. Lost, hurting, paralyzed people cannot come to a saving relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ, unless someone cares enough to help them get there.
“Some men came bringing to Jesus a paralyzed man…carried by 4 of them.” (v. 3)
I love this verse of scripture…because I believe in it we see the picture of how every single one of us are saved…
ROMANS 10:11-15 (p. 788)
One of the most powerful truths of Salvation is found in verse 17…“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
Everyone is invited…Jew and Gentile, but the only way anyone can be healed…set free from the jail of sin and shame is for them to hear Jesus’ message…someone has to get them there…no wonder God’s Word says…“The feet that do this are beautiful.” (v. 15)
Some men…at least 4 of them made an intentional decision to get their friend to Jesus.
It was a conspiracy of love.
Here’s my belief…if we had more of these conspiracies to win our lost friends to Christ, heaven would explode with applause.
George Barna says, “86% of people who are in a saving relationship with Christ have been brought there by a relative, friend or neighbor. People cannot hear unless someone cares enough to share it with them…and the most effective witnesses aren’t behind a pulpit on Sunday morning…and sometimes those folks hurt so bad, are paralyzed in their life so desperately, they need to be carried.