November 2016 – Stranger things have happened!

STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED

 

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into your house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:18…

HE PRAYED BUT THE PALSY STAYED

Ever been there? You prayed but the problem stayed? This man was hopelessly paralyzed. I don’t know how old he was nor do we know how long he had been in this condition…what I do know with some measure of certainty is that he had prayed but still had palsy and his hope was fading.

FADED HOPE

“Hope”, Among it’s many definitions is, holding on to the idea that something good may happen even if it is against great odds. It is not letting go of a dream or desire. This man’s hope was surely fading. What a desperate place to be when it seems certain that your miserable situation is not going to change. Faded hope is when you feel very near to giving up and accepting an undesirable condition. As you read this account in Luke 5 or in Mark 2 you can see how he must have lived in Fading Hope.

Across town, in an undetermined location was Jesus. Next door? Next block, next community? We don’t know how close the house was to his, but there was a FULL HOUSE.

Jesus was in the house. Whatever the man’s condition…help was closer than he could have imagined. It was not the Sabbath day, else Jesus would have been in the synagogue, this was just a “certain day” and the house was overflowing. All types of people, Scribes, Pharisees, Doctors, lawyers…Helpers and Hinderers. Helpless and Helpers. Hearers, the Heartless and THE Healer! They were all there. The Bible says they came to hear Him AND to be healed of Him…today we just come to hear Him. The Bible also says the Power of The Lord was Present to Heal Them! Well, that makes a difference.

You would think the people would have been gracious and made a way for the man with palsy being carried on his bed…you would think they would have open a passageway right to Jesus. The house was packed! Doorways and window opening were covered apparently by several rows of people. I wonder what kind of faith these four men had? I wonder how they even convinced the palsied to go with them. They had heard and seen something about Jesus, they knew something.

FAITH BY HEARING

Clearly the Bible teaches us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God…in this case, the Words of God. These four had heard enough to believe that Jesus would heal their friend…enough that the four carried him on his bed to get to Jesus. They likely had to persuade him to go. Can you visualize the four of them talking to him … each standing near the four corners of the blanket, ready to transport him. Can you hear the conversation? One guy saying, “Come on man, I used to be blind and Jesus healed me.” The man may have reasoned, “Yeah, but this is my whole body, I’m a mess.” The fourth guy says, “Hey, my name is Lazarus, I use to be dead!’  I can see the man’s faith release to the point that he is ready to go.

It is not easy for four people to carry 150-200lbs for any distance. Not only did they carry him a distance, they got up to the roof of the house with this man. Determined, by faith, to get their friend to JesusLet your mind create a good picture of this. Their faith saw beyondall kinds of obstacles.Their faith did not underestimate God. Jesus dealt with the immediate and mostoutstanding need any man has. First the sin, then the sickness!

FORGIVEN HEART

Matthew Henry says, “Sin is the procuring cause of all our pains and sicknesses. The way to remove the effect, is, to take away the cause. Pardon on sin strikes at the root of all diseases, and either cures them or alters their property.”  What a great comment! The Bible says “when Jesus saw their faith,” he said unto him, “Man, your sins are forgiven.“ Jesus not only recognized the faith of others to believe for the man, he recognized that forgiveness of sin must precede healing. We see the same thing in deliverance and healing…first the sin, then the healing.

What peace must have come to this man’s heart when the Son of God pronounced him clean, pardoned, forgiven. That was his great need. I wonder how he may have felt though when the religious, “righteous” crowd began to question Jesus and His Authority to forgive sins. Probably a sinking, empty feeling … he was likely still suspended in the air by the grip of his  friends when the controversy arose.

Sadly, the actions and words of that crowd today can rob the joy and peace of others. Why couldn’t they just rejoice with his situation? Jesus, when He saw and heard all of this said, which is easier to say your sins are forgiven or take up your bed and walk…but that you may know…, “Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine own house.” All the man had to do was “obey” and he did!

This man walked back home glorifying God. Probably doing some high stepping…while the crowd  was amazed and said, We have seen strange things today! Well, stranger things have happened!

A father came to Jesus in behalf of his sick daughter who then died before they could get to her. Jesus went anyway to the house and spoke life into the 12-year old dead girl! Stranger things have happened.

A mother was in the funeral procession to bury her only son. She wept, Jesus saw her tears, stopped the procession, put his hand in the casket and raised the man from the dead. He presented the son to the mother…stranger things have happened.

Two sisters wept and prayed for their sick brother. They wept after his burial, Jesus came and wept with them. He raised their brother out of the four day grave. Stranger things have happened.

I heard that people got up out of their graves when Jesus got up out of His … stranger things have happened. Do you think your need is too great? It may be right around the corner, it may be just across town or perhaps through some friends that keep believing with you and for you. Stranger things have happened! You feel like you are in a hopeless condition and things will never get better? Stranger things have happened!

Just for Jesus.

Don

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