241 of 365 - Go, See, Tell, meet
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6
The stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out, but to let us in. God is so good to let these women, who stuck with Jesus till the bitter end, SEE that the tomb was empty. And not only that, but the angel says they will get to SEE HIM.
The women GO to the tomb. They didn’t have a plan; they didn’t have all the details figured out yet, but they went.
They are told NOT to BE AFRAID. This is shocking and unknown territory. God knows it elicits fear of what is to come, and He says, “do not be alarmed.”
The angel sent by God invites them to COME and SEE the place where He had been laid. To come and see for themselves that He was, but is no longer, there.
They are instructed to GO and TELL the disciples. They can’t linger long in the empty tomb or keep this incredible news to themselves. They must go and tell others.
And in the going, they are told they will SEE HIM, just as He promised.
It was a new beginning for the three women. It was a new beginning for the disciples. It was a new beginning for the kingdom of God. It IS a new beginning for us.
We need to GO; to take action to seek Him, despite our doubts. We need to COME and SEE; to examine truth for ourselves. We need to GO and TELL others what we’ve discovered. And most of all, we need to MEET HIM; to personally experience Him.
Question: In what ways can you go, see, tell, and meet Jesus?
240 of 365 - Empty
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. Mark 16:1-2
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” the three women talk among themselves as they gather up all of the spices to give Jesus the preparation for burial He didn’t properly get. They never expected to find the tomb empty. It was the end of a good run with a good man, but it was over. Their beloved Jesus was gone. They would never see Him again.
To their surprise, when they approached the tomb, the stone had been rolled back. I wonder what the women were feeling as they made their way into the tomb...Were they cautiously entering full of fear? Were they excitedly rushing in? Were they full of hope that maybe He had risen as He said? Were they angry thinking someone had taken Him?
The tomb isn’t empty, but Jesus isn’t there either. Instead, a young man in a white robe was sitting in the tomb.
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Steven Furtick says, “The tomb may have looked empty…but it was full of hope, potential, possibility and new beginnings.”
The empty tomb isn’t the end of a story, but instead a new beginning.
Jesus WAS crucified, but He IS risen.
Questions: Jesus had told His followers many times about His death AND resurrection. Why do you think they were surprised to see the empty tomb? Why were they scared? What do you think they thought happened?
234 of 365 - Misunderstood
But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:5
How do you react when you are falsely accused or misunderstood? For most of us, the natural inclination is to fight back. We want to clear up the misunderstanding; clear our “good” name. We likely call or shoot off a text to a friend. We may craft a vent post on social media. Anything to make sure someone (everyone) knows we were wronged, and things aren’t as they are being portrayed.
But Jesus shows us another way. He never fought back. He never spent His precious time or energy clearing up the many misunderstandings or false accusations hurled His way. And if anyone had a right to do so, it would be Him.
Jesus didn’t strive for human acceptance, attention or adoration. He just kept faithfully, obediently, and humbly living out His calling. He never argues or pleads with anyone to follow Him. He doesn’t water down the message to make it more palatable. He speaks the truth, and then He steps back. We either believe it, or we don’t. As a result, He was accused of all sorts of “religious” offenses and was consistently misunderstood and misrepresented. But He was never deterred.
Leading up to the most severe accusation facing Jesus — betrayal and fabricated charges that would lead to a brutal death — Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane and prays. He steeped Himself in prayer and conversation with God, His Father. God Himself in human flesh refueled with a fresh dose of truth and intimacy. A necessary equipping to endure His calling.
Only in being rooted in who we are in God can we resist the temptation to fight back the distractions of the devil to get us off track. And it requires ongoing refilling through prayer and abiding in God. Then, fully equipped, like Jesus, we won’t be tempted to defend or debate; instead, we will have the assurance necessary to keep our eyes up and our feet moving to the rhythm of our calling for His glory.
Questions: How do you react when misunderstood or falsely accused? How can you be more like Jesus next time this happens?
224 of 365 - Watch & Pray
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38
Shortly after Peter confidently asserts to Jesus that he will never fall away, he finds himself in a garden where Jesus brings him and a few others to pray.
Here Jesus finds Peter failing at something far less intense than facing death for Jesus’s sake.…namely, not being able to stay awake when Jesus asks him to during a time of deep need.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Jesus says.
Be alert. Watch and pray. We can’t fight temptation on our own. We need to tap into the power of God. But again, Peter falls asleep.
Not many hours later Peter denies Jesus. Three times. And not to an armed military commander, but to an unthreatening servant girl. The rooster crows.
And this is so us, right? We feel so close to God and we make promises we can’t keep. Or we royally mess up and we make promises we can’t keep. Or we want something so badly and we make promises we can’t keep. Or we let emotions get the best of us and we make promises we can’t keep.
Be careful what you promise to God. He doesn’t want our naive promises; He wants our person, our presence, our devotion. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We must watch and pray.
Questions: What promises have you made, so sure you would keep them, but ultimately broke? Why was it so hard to keep? What caused you to break your promise?
223 of 365 - Spiritual battle
Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Mark 14:29
At the last Passover meal with Jesus, Peter made a promise he couldn’t keep. In accordance with the Scriptures, Jesus tells the disciples they will all fall away. Peter, always the impulsive one, declares, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
Peter is speaking out of self-reliance; out of pride and emotion. Always the recipe for disaster. Jesus knows it is a promise Peter can’t keep and tells him so. He is even specific about when the denial will take place: this very night, before the rooster crows.
Despite specifics uttered by Jesus, Peter becomes more emphatic, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” Peter is speaking based on his feelings at the moment. They just had a nice meal. They learned of a new covenant. They are singing hymns. Everything feels good – feels right – at the moment. Peter is pumped and feeling brave.
Jesus, on the other hand, is well aware of the intense spiritual battle raging all around. Staying grounded, resisting temptation, facing fears, doing the right thing when it is hard takes more than simply an impassioned promise made in a safe environment.
Oswald Chambers says, “Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it… Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant… Jesus had a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him…beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God”
Question: Why is it so hard to follow and obey Jesus in our own power?
219 of 365 - Signs to Come
For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. Mark 13:8
The disciples want to know what to look for to recognize when the end is near. When we feel weary, we too want to know when it will all end. When will Jesus return? When will He make all things right as He promised? When will sin, and pain, and envy, and our repeated mistakes, and suffering, and death be defeated once and for all?
Jesus tells the disciples that the signs to come before the day of His return will be horrible…nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, famines. And if that isn’t bad enough, He says they are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Pain has a purpose. Progress comes from pain. Pain indicates something is wrong. Pain makes us take a hard look and to try to change something; to fix it. Pain makes us stop, limiting what we can do; forcing us to slow down. Pain is humbling.
Jesus relates the pain to come as birth pains. Pains that increase and intensify, but ultimately produce something new and something beautiful on the other side of it.
Though we groan now under the weight of sin, a time will come when all things that went wrong when sin entered the world, when the pains of childbirth began, will be made right again.
C.S. Lewis says, “If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world.” Indeed, we were made for another world. A world free of sin and suffering. A world in intimate communion and community with God. Until that time, we groan with the sustaining and increasing pains of childbirth. And when that time comes when the birth pains subside, and new life emerges, the pain will long be forgotten. It will again be good. Very good.
Question: How can a painful experience usher in something good?
184 of 365 - New View
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. Mark 9:2-3
A pause on the stifling, constrictive, skin-wrapped humanity, the glory of God peeks through Jesus up on a mountain. It isn’t a reflection of light from another source, but a light within Jesus bursting forth, finally uncontained.
Moses – the recipient of the law -- is there. Elijah – the great prophet – is there. Jesus – the fulfillment of the law and the prophets – is there. A beautiful, holy encounter.
Remember roughly 1,400 years earlier Moses died on a mountain overlooking the earthly promised land God didn’t permit him to enter? Now all these years later, Moses is again on a mountaintop, this time with Elijah and Jesus. It doesn’t say what they are talking about, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the world-changing events that are about to take place. Events that according to worldly standards would be considered an utter failure, but according to God’s plan are the gateway to redemption; to the true and eternal promised land. Only a short time to go and the glory of Jesus would no longer be squeezed in human flesh; the sacrificial system no longer necessary; the sins of the people washed clean once and for all time; the pathway to righteousness before God in place. Perspective and God’s truth changes everything.
How often do we find ourselves in the mundane, unsettled, tedious wilderness surrounded by grumbling and feeling like a failure because we don't measure up to the world’s definition of success? Perhaps we too need a perspective change. There is so much more than what we see. There is so much God wants to give us and show us; a longer, eternal view. Success is obedience to God. Success is nearness to Him in the middle of the journey. Success is shepherding others to truth. Success is going where and when God tells us to. Success is constant communion with God until the glorious day we see Him face to face.
Question: Where might you need a perspective change today?
181 of 365 - Beware
And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15
“Watch out; beware of the leaven of the PHARISEES…” Jesus says. Hypocrisy, pride, love of honor and social status. Ruling with heavy legalistic burdens no one can adhere to. Missing the Messiah among religious activity.
“…and the leaven of HEROD,” Jesus continues. Herod, the political leader, representing an utter lack of belief; no religious conviction; ruling with a heavy hand and violence. Rejecting the One true King of kings.
Jesus uses leaven as a picture of what sin can look like and the damage it can inflict. Leaven is a yeast-like substance added to the dough to make it ferment and rise. Only a small amount is needed for a big impact.
Beware of the metaphorical leaven, Jesus warns. It can come from many roots. The Pharisees, though religious on the outside, were at as much risk as Herod and the non-religious people who had disdain for any religion. Like leaven, a little sin goes an exponentially long way. Just a small amount let in unhindered can change the entire composition. Slowly, but wholly.
We all have it. Those things that we let in. They seem insignificant and harmless, but they have the ability to grow and spread and change us, without us knowing or even seeing it happen.
A small mustard seed size faith in God can move mountains. Likewise, a small leaven of sin can corrupt our entire being.
Questions: What seemingly small, but unhealthy, things do you let impact your life? What seemingly small sin areas might easily grow out of hand if not addressed?
174 of 365 - Who Gets The Glory
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you…Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Mark 10:35,37
We can get a picture stuck in our head, often contrary to facts all around us and even messages from God, about what something will look like. We have expectations for how things should be; what we should be.
James and John are looking around at the others in their small circle, and they want to make sure they have places of honor. The other ten disciples get wind of it, and they are indignant. Competition and comparison kick in, everyone clawing and climbing over each other to try to reach the top. These are people they have walked with, eaten with, worked with, learned with, even healed with… and still, ambition, self-promotion, and competition replace love, humility, the elevation of others.
Jesus, in essence, says, “You want greatness? Serve. Give of yourself. Uplift others.” Self-denial over self-promotion. Sacrifice over self-glory.
Why, when we know what produces pure joy, peace, and contentment, do we continue to look around, compare and compete? It does nothing to draw people to God or glorify Him. Instead, it makes us anxious, unproductive, ineffective, and miserable. It’s the devil’s most potent weapon… “If I could just get their eyes off of Jesus and on themselves and how they stack up against those around them, I could make some headway,” he contrives. We can’t let the devil have this space. We can’t let him dictate where our eyes are focused. We can’t believe his lie that it is all about us and we need to preserve and protect that at all costs.
The anecdote? Seeking God’s glory always over our own. Serving others. Lifting others up. Denying ourselves for the benefit of others. Giving generously. Focusing our eyes above. Embracing our unique calling and running toward it with passion.
Challenge: How can you be great in the kingdom today by serving?
173 of 365 - Hometown
And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4
Why does familiarity breed contempt? Why are those closest to Jesus the ones who had the hardest time accepting who He was? Ever been there?
For nearly 30 years Jesus was with them in the small town of Nazareth. They probably played tag with Him as children, ate with His family, worshiped with Him at the Synagogue, possibly even purchased furniture He built. They knew Him. They knew His character, His kindness, His work ethic, His compassion. Surely they saw these things over the years.
And now Jesus returns after a year or so. They have heard rumblings about His popularity and many miracles. Jesus begins to teach in the same synagogue they likely witnessed thousands of teachers share the Word together. They are astonished by what they hear. The wisdom with which He teaches…like no one before Him; the mighty works done by His hands.
But...they know His mother, His brothers and sisters, His aunts and uncles. A family of little social standing or importance. They know His educational background. No formal training. A mere carpenter.
And because of their preconceived notions about Him; because of their insistence that they know Him so well, they miss the most beautiful part of who He is. Instead of believing, they show contempt. Their wonder based on things they just witnessed turns to offense. How dare Jesus come back here and say things like He is the Messiah? Does He think He is better than us? We know who He really is! It doesn’t make sense.
Jesus, the carpenter, they know. Jesus, the Anointed One, they can’t wrap their head around. It just can’t be this guy we grew up with. Yes, He is kind. Yes, He is a good man. But, He is no Messiah. Familiarity left them blind.
Questions: Why do you think those who grew up with Jesus had the hardest time believing He was the Messiah? What beautiful parts about someone close to you might you be missing? What are those nearest to you missing about you?
172 of 365 - Arise!
Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Mark 5:41
Two wildly different people, their stories interwoven.
By cultural standards, they never would have spoken.
One has it all: wealth, resources, power.
The other has nothing, barely hanging on hour to hour.
One approaches boldly, in confidence he comes.
The other comes discreetly, hoping to attract the attention of none.
But more in common than any on the outside know;
they are desperate for Jesus and not ashamed to let it show.
No other options, a last-ditch resort,
this Jesus, the healer, to Him they report.
A child, 12, dying; a father’s nightmare,
A woman bleeding, for that many years.
If only a word or even a touch,
We need you, Jesus. WE NEED YOU SO MUCH!
The crowds are so thick, so noisy and pressing.
We have to get through, we have faith in a blessing.
The woman lunges forward before the crowds close in.
She makes contact, though only the hem.
She feels it instantly, fully healed and whole.
By His sudden reaction, she knows that He knows.
“Who touched me,” He asks. The air becomes thick.
To her knees, she collapses. Please, let this stick.
“You’ve been made well on account of your belief.”
She has never known such indescribable relief.
But the joy interrupted with troubling news:
Jairus’ daughter is dead. it’s just no use.
Do not fear, you need only believe.
Come with me, a miracle you will see.
“Talitha cumi.” “Little girl, Arise.” Today is for living, no one will die.
I wonder who else needs to hear these words?
Arise, dear believer. Your faith is a cure.
It makes no difference your family name.
In the eyes of Jesus, we are all the same.
Challenge: Read the stories the poem was based on in Mark 5:21-43.
169 of 365 - Buried to Grow
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. Mark 4:26
There are many ways to receive the Word, but only one bears fruit. The messy, dirty, broken up soil that gladly receives the seed of truth.
A seed, securely packed beneath the ground, begins to find comfort. It takes root, the tough shell breaking open as new life slowly emerges. All the hard work underground, in the dirt. Branching out, digging in, absorbing life-giving water. Long, tedious, unseen, messy work.
Then one day, it breaks through the surface. Nothing much to look at some might say, but it’s the start of something beautiful. It craves the light from above, reaching always toward it.
Day and night. Day and night. The Creator is doing His thing on the willing creation. Slow and steady. Work underground, branching out, soaking in the living water. Slow and steady. Work above the surface, taking in the light, becoming sturdier, even blooming.
The growing never ends. The feeding on the water and sunlight never ends. But something changes. The once small seed becomes a source of comfort for others. Birds build nests and rest on its branches. Children pick from the overflowing fruit it is bearing. Couples sit under its shady limbs.
The seed doesn’t desire to go back underground. Once out, the transformed seed never wants to leave the sun. This, Jesus says, is the Kingdom of Heaven.
We grow and we glow, all fueled by the living water and source of all light. It is slow and it is messy and underground root-building at times. But it is also hands reaching high out in the open; new life shining to illuminate the path of truth, always radiating light from the Source, while simultaneously pointing others there.
Question: How does our growth in Jesus compare to a seed/plant/tree?
154 of 365 - Mite to Mighty
And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Mark 12:43
The wealthy are piling into the temple dropping large coins – lots of them – into the treasury. Each donation makes a loud clanging sound as it drops into the trumpet-shaped metal receptacle designed to literally hear the size of the offering. Impressive nods abound as the clanging is louder and more prolonged. A poor widow comes and drops in two small coins, the value of a penny. They make barely as sound as they hit the collection vessel. Small; unimpressive to the watching religious leaders. But not so to Jesus. Jesus says her offering is more than all the others because she contributed out of her poverty where the others contributed out of abundance. She gave everything. All she had to live on.
The King James translation calls the offering the Widow’s Mite. Mite is a very small coin, worth practically nothing. I love this translation because it turns out the widow’s mite was awfully mighty in God’s eyes. And “mite” for us may be more than just money.
Maybe it’s writing, creating, music, teaching, mentoring, leading, encouraging, tutoring, speaking, or any number of gifts. We are quick to be hard on ourselves; critical and insecure about what we have to offer. We think our gifts are merely a mite. Small, unimpressive, insignificant, of no use in the bigger scheme of things. But it’s a lie. A lie that keeps us from putting ourselves in the game.
We may be holding out because we don’t think we have enough, or aren’t ready yet, or don’t feel qualified enough, or are afraid of failing or being rejected. We tightly cling to our gifts and passions, instead of giving them all away. We think they are mite, but God can use them mightily.
The truth is, God doesn’t NEED us. He can make miracles happen with His words alone. He WANTS us. He wants us to step out in faith. He wants us to take what little we have, place it in the receptacle of our God-ordained spaces, and watch Him multiply it.
Questions: What “mite” are you clinging to? What is holding you back?
153 of 365 - Do you Know Him?
And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. Mark 3:14-15
Continuing from the previous passage with the different people and beliefs about Jesus, we also meet up with Jesus’ family and childhood friends. People who knew Him before the healing and teaching and fame and following. They can’t reconcile who they knew with who they are witnessing. They have been around Him so long, they can’t grasp the magnitude of who He is. It doesn’t make sense to them. He is misunderstood by those who should know Him best as they proclaim, “He is out of His mind.”
Finally, we see the chosen twelve. He called them and they came. He appointed them SO THAT they might BE WITH HIM and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. A new covenant with a new chosen people to carry it into the world. Twelve disciples in the pattern of the twelve tribes of Israel from the original covenant fulfilled by Him. Their first and most important job: to BE WITH HIM. This is foundational for any other calling. They will know Him, learn from Him, become one in spirit with Him, and THEN be equipped to go out and share Him with others.
I heard a speaker once summarize it, “Withness before Witness.”
May we always be in the eager disciple category. Chosen and willing. Never skipping the first and important step of BEING WITH Jesus. And then, fully equipped, being the hands of feet of Jesus to a hurting and hungry world.
Questions: Recap these two new categories in addition to the ones from the passage yesterday. How do we see this play out today? Where do you see yourself?
152 of 365 - Knowing Jesus
And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Mark 3:11
Woven in a healing story told in Mark chapter 3 we get a glimpse into many of the wildly different reactions from those who came in contact with Jesus.
The religious leaders watch Jesus closely. They know ABOUT Jesus, but they don’t KNOW Jesus. They stalk Him this Sabbath day, fully believing He will heal the man with the withered hand. We sometimes doubt Jesus will meet our needs or the needs of others, but these religious leaders anticipate it. They are certain He could and would heal this man, but instead of that drawing them closer to Him, they try to use it as a trap. Their net to catch Him? “Working” on the Sabbath. They accuse Him of doing forbidden labor (healing a man) on the Sabbath as they indignantly storm out of the synagogue plotting His destruction. Rather than seeing the Messiah they have been preparing for and waiting for, they see someone standing in the way of their esteemed positions of power.
Then we encounter the crowds. They follow in enormous masses. They are seeking the miracle; the healing. They too believe He can and will heal if they can just get close enough to touch Him. They follow Jesus for what He can do for them, not who He can be to them. This type of following won’t last long, as they move on to the next quick fix in their lives, never developing a relationship with the healer.
In the midst of the crowds seeking healing are unclean spirits. They know more than any others who Jesus is and what He came to do. They fall down before Him and cry out, “You are the Son of God.” They are the first to acknowledge who He is. But they have no desire to follow Him…they just want Him to leave them alone to their suffering and tormenting. They are content in their evil existence.
To be continued…
Question: Think about the first three examples of people groups and their reactions to Jesus. Where do you see these examples today?
149 of 365 -
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5
“Son, your sins are forgiven,” Jesus says.
Wait, what?!? …the friends of the paralyzed man who carried him to Jesus and lowered him through the roof must be thinking. They came for healing, not forgiveness of sins.
Jesus always knows what we truly need. The heart of all of our hurt and suffering and deepest need is rooted in sin. It isn’t that this man’s health is directly related to his sin, it is that ALL OF US have a sin issue that only Jesus can fix.
Jesus went there first because any other secondary need addressed will never bring us peace and wholeness. And THEN Jesus healed his physical need, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (Mark 2:11). Jesus healed his soul and then healed his body, enabling him to walk in freedom out of the crowded room he moments before needed his friends to lower him into.
A sweet friend, Julie Seals, summed it up perfectly, “where the world says, ‘you made your bed, now lie in it.’ Jesus says, ‘Rise! Take up your bed and walk.’”
Jesus says the same to us: “Your sins are forgiven….Rise!....take up your bed and walk.” Pick up that thing you keep laying in and leaning on, and follow me. Where the world seeks to condemn, Jesus seeks to redeem.
Jesus stands ready to meet all of our needs, starting with the most pressing one of our sins. Rise! Walk in freedom.
Questions: How do you think “the world” (people you know, our culture in general) looks at sin? How does this compare to Jesus?
148 of 365 - A Friend
And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. Mark 2:4
Whispers abound…the healer is in town. He’s preaching at a house only a few miles away. The foursome packs up a few supplies for the trip and secures their beloved friend on his pallet, each with a corner of his bed resting on one shoulder. I wonder if they talked among themselves on the way there, or if they were unusually silent, keeping their thoughts to themselves.
They make good time, just over an hour. When they reach the house, it is packed. People even spilling out into the entrance.
They only let disappointment set in for an instant before coming up with a plan. They climb the rickety staircase leading to the roof, careful to balance their friend. Climbing a few steps and then waiting for the crew at the back to catch up until they reach the top. They lay their friend down as they begin to piece by piece remove the roof tile. As the hole gets larger, they can’t help but stop to peek in and hear what the teacher is saying. Surely this is the one who can heal their friend. At last, the hole is big enough to fit the pallet through. They each take a wrap they brought and secure it to their designated corner of the bed. Slowly and steadily they lower the pallet. Wobbling all the way down, it lands with a loud thud in front of the teacher. It causes quite a stir. All eyes fixed on the helpless man in the messy bed.
The men rush down the back stairs and push their way through the crowd. Now the waiting. It is in the teacher’s hands. What will he do? They are certain healing is coming.
To what lengths do we go to put our friends in the presence of Jesus? Not only do they have faith, but they are also willing to do the hard work to see it produce fruit. To not just say it and think about it and pray about it, but to act on it. We all need friends willing to carry us to Jesus!
Questions: Do you have friends like the paralytic man? Are you this kind of friend? What would you do to bring your friends to Jesus?