Summary: Good News, Dancing in Joy, Friendship, Compassion
Mark 2:1-12 (p. 700) May 25, 2014
As you know, and if you don’t here’s a reminder, one of my favorite books is Mike Yaconelli’s “Messy Spirituality.” He ends chapter two which is called, “The place where our messiness meets Jesus” with this story:
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!
What really bothered those who believed they had an automatic invitation to the party, was how Jesus invited everyone...the poor, the blind, the prisoner, and the oppressed. The good news is for those who have always been picked last when teams are chosen...everyone wanted to come to the dance, but some couldn’t get there on their own. It took:
I. FRIENDS THAT CARED ENOUGH TO CARRY US
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat, carried by 4 of them!” (Mk. 2:30)
Some men...4 men...we don’t even know their names, but I guarantee you don’t go through this kind of effort if you don’t care about the one you’re carrying!
Our text finds Jesus in Capernaum. He’s teaching near home...he’s come home. Our text says, He preached the word to them...and there was such a “large crowd there was no room left, not even outside the door.”
Everyone wants to here “this word preached.” It’s a non exclusive party according to Jesus. God is inviting “whosoever will to come.”
[One of my favorite activities that Kari and I have taken part in is Southland’s Jesus Prom led by one of my mentors “Brewster Mcleod.”
Why do this? Because most of these 1500 special adults have never had a party thrown in their honor, or been to a prom...and Jesus’ words, “when you give a banquet invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Lk. 14:13-14)]
Do you know why pure religion is found in caring for widows and orphans? Widows and orphans can’t pay you back! (James 1:27)
At the Jesus prom, those invited can’t get there unless someone cares enough to bring them...
And the paralyzed man in our text could not get to Jesus on his own...He couldn’t get through the crowd...He couldn’t get off the mat by himself.
None of us can...this is the truth of ministry. People, especially hurting people cannot come to a saving, relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ, unless someone cares enough to help them. Listen to this truth in Paul’s exhortation to the Romans 10.
ROMANS 10:13-17 (p. 788)
Everyone is invited...Jew & Gentile, but the only way anyone can hear, believe and act upon God’s invitation is for a “messenger” to deliver it, preach it. That messenger has beautiful feet, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”