Overlooked Scripture No. 6: “The tyranny of the urgent.”

“Now, in the morning, having risen a long time before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed.  And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’  But He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth'” (Mark 1:35-38).

“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late!” So said the white rabbit as he plunged into the hole.–  From the Walt Disney movie “Alice in Wonderland.” 

I have a hard time turning off my inner engine.

A typical situation looks like this:  I’m packing the car in order to leave as soon as possible for a long drive to a preaching assignment.  Do I have everything? Have I canceled the newspaper for the days I’ll be gone? Do my children know where I’ll be? Am I taking my laptop? Do I have the phone charger? My extra dress shoes?  Enough shirts?

All the while, I’m keeping an eye on the clock. I know how long the drive will take and when I’m expected. The first meeting is tonight. I’d sure like to get there in time to check into the hotel and rest for an hour.

Hurry. Hurry, and hurry some more.

In the car finally and heading out of town, my inner engine is still at warp speed.

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Jesus, the logician

Fourth in a series on the incident of Mark 2:1-12. (Earlier installments are to be found on this website dated May 13, May 14, and May 19, 2015.)

“Some of the scribes were sitting here and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ When Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk?'”  (Mark 2:6-9).

One of the most helpful courses I took in college was logic.  The ability to think clearly and rationally about complex issues is a wonderful asset for anyone.

It helps me to realize our Lord Jesus Christ was nothing if not logical. Jesus clearly loved logic.

Again and again in Scripture He shows Himself the Master of logic and rational thinking as He lays the issues before His hearers in orderly fashion and asks them to think about them.

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What priests do that you and I do also

(Fourth in a series of article based on the little incident in Mark 2:1-12)

“Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men.  Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying….”

A priest stands between God and the people. He is an intercessor before God on behalf of the people.  He is a witness (whether teaching, preaching, or simply speaking) before the people on behalf of God.

The priest has two strong attachments: to the Lord Himself and to the people in his care.

The four men of this story demonstrate both:  Their confidence in Jesus is what inspired them to go to all this trouble of getting their friend to Him;  Their commitment to the friend drove them to do whatever it took to see that he had the full opportunity to be healed.

With one hand on the Lord and the other on the friend, both hands locked into steel grips, the “priest” refuses to turn loose of either.

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Forgive you your sins as you forgive others theirs

 indeed (third article on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)

“Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

Look how eager the Lord Jesus was to forgive sins. The man hadn’t even asked for such.  No one had asked for forgiveness, for themselves or for the paralytic.

The Lord Jesus brought the subject up and unilaterally announced the man’s sins were gone. And the man lay there and took it.

It’s amazing, is what it is.

Forgiveness is in God’s DNA.

It’s the nature of God to forgive sins, much to the consternation of the enemy who keeps trying to brand God as a sin-inspector/catcher/treasurer.  Moses had asked the Lord to “show me your glory.”  God said, “I’ll show you my goodness.” (Exodus 33:18-19)  We take this to mean that God’s goodness is one element of His glory, although far less than the full measure.  In truth, Moses could no more stand to be shown the fullness of God’s glory than a housefly could hope to stand a half-mile from the sun and take it all its radiance without being fried to a crisp in the process.

“The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with (Moses) there, and proclaimed His name:  ‘The Lord, the Lord God.  Compassionate and gracious.  Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.  Maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations.  Forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins…’ ” (Exodus 34:6-7)

I enjoy pointing out that there is nothing else like this self-revelation from God except for all the places where it is quoted, throughout the Old Testament.  The prophetic writers correctly judged this to be one of the most important insights in all history.

We do well to keep in mind that the very nature of God means that He is compassionate and gracious and delights in forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sins.

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Show us your faith!

(second article on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)

“When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home.  So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the word to them.  Then, they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men.  Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was.  And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying.  Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic….” (Mark 2:1ff.)

The Lord can see our faith.

Faith at its simplest and most basic is confidence in Jesus.  “You believe in God,” He said. “Believe also in me” (John 14:1).

Confidence in Jesus Christ affects everything we do. Take the story in Mark 2, for instance….

In a house crowded by listeners, curiosity-seekers, and heresy-hunters, people with actual faith in Jesus stood out prominently.

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Everything begins with listening: Plant yourself at the feet of Jesus.

(The first of several articles on the incident of Mark 2:1-12)

“When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home. So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the door way, and He was speaking the Word to them” (Mark 2:1-2).

Everything starts with listening.

Everywhere the Lord Jesus went, people flocked to hear Him.  They covered hillsides and blanketed lakeshores.  They packed out synagogues and homes, so intent were they on every word coming from those divine lips.  “Never man spake like this man,” they said (John 7:46).

People of our generation prefer to speak than listen, to argue rather than to hear and believe. They want their wisdom reduced to sound bites, to bumper sticker phrases.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” says Paul in Romans 10:17. Faith in God is given to those who will hear His Word.

Really hear it. Not just register it or record it, and not just scan it. Take it inwardly and digest it.  Think about it, treasure it in our hearts, and meditate upon it.

You want faith? Want to know if God is real and Jesus is everything He claimed?  Interested in checking out the Christian faith? Perhaps you are tired of seeing people slam Christianity while others glorify it and have decided to see for yourself?  Good.

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