Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan
is Genesis 7-9, Mark 2
Mark 2:1-5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
Every time I read this story I am impressed with the quality of faith in this man's friends.
If this man had had other friends, this situation could've unfolded a lot differently.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they waited outside, hoping to see Jesus later.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they decided to wait until the next day.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they went home.
But that's not what happened.
They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof about his head.
Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.
They literally dug a hole through the roof. That is determination! That is being willing to risk some social fall out (there must have been some serious debris falling on people's heads as they interrupted the gathering). That is being willing to pay the price (I'm sure they helped fix the roof!).
That is faith.
Sometimes faith seems to be seen as us somehow doing God a favour. He asks us to accept him, and eventually we give in. No! We are the ones who are undeserving. We are the ones that should be doing everything in our power to search for the treasure of salvation.
We will see how often in Mark as in the other Gospels this matter of striving after salvation is emphasized. Jesus himself makes a great point of it. In one sermon he said, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” These men tried the door and found it blocked but still were not deterred. In another place Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.” And how often in the events of his life and in his parables does the Lord emphasize this matter of making every effort and devoting all one’s powers to obtain God’s salvation. Blind beggars cry out until the crowd, thoroughly annoyed, yells at them to shut up, which they refuse to do until Jesus takes notice of them and their plight. Others come from a great distance to have Jesus touch them. The kingdom of heaven, he says on one occasion is like a man who sold everything he had to buy a field because he knew that treasure was buried there.
And, on the other hand, how often in the Lord’s teaching and in his encounters with people, the one who fails to find salvation is somewhat interested, somewhat committed, but not enough. Think of the rich young ruler who wanted to be saved but didn’t want to have to part with his first love – money – in order to be saved. There was the man who came to the wedding feast but wasn’t sufficiently concerned to be properly dressed. There were the five virgins who went out to meet the Lord at midnight but took no precautions to ensure that they would have sufficient oil for their lamps. They were too cavalier, too unconcerned; they didn’t care enough about the salvation of God.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end salvation is obtained by those who permit nothing to stand in their way and is missed by those who, however seemingly interested, at last seek it with only half heartedly. True faith, saving faith climbs steep steps and digs through roofs until Jesus has been found and has bestowed his grace. If the Scripture tells us that faith in Christ is necessary then we will pray for true faith, we will resolutely set ourselves to believing in Jesus about everything and then knowing our weakness, conscious of it, we will over and over again pray to the Lord, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” If the Scripture says that true and living faith in Jesus, the kind of faith that saves the soul must produce love, obedience, service, and prayer, then we will not rest until all those things are faithfully, honestly, and increasingly represented in our lives. If the Scripture says that if we shrink back we will not receive what is promised, then we must continue to follow hard after the Lord and take care our commitment to him does not flag. This is the way it is with the person who obtains the forgiveness of his or her sins and entrance into eternal life. He bends every effort, she brooks no obstacles, he is daunted by no opposition because he knows, she knows that compared to this nothing else matters.
Nothing else matters!
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage
: Genesis 10-12, Mark 3