Saturday, September 17, 2011

Carrying Other People 

Mark 2:1-12
1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 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. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Folks are self-centered — perhaps more than any other time in history urban migration, pressures of work and the demands of the family have left us with very little time for our unsaved friends. When we do have some time, we wish to relax and unwind in our own privacy. There is a lack of interest in spending time with other people, to be concerned for them and to share in their struggles. But as people of Christ, we are commanded to share with others the good news of God’s saving grace through the Lord Jesus. Unsaved people do not know how to trust in Christ and we need to lead the way for them to follow. Just like the four friends in Mark 2:1-12, we need to carry our friend who is "paralyzed" by sin and suffering to be healed by the Lord Jesus.

The above passage tells of four (4) principles that we need to observe when we consider carrying other people. So, how do we carry others?

Firstly, we need to carry our friends. This means we need to befriend others and earn their trust so that they will allow us to carry them to where they can find help. The American poet, Will Rogers said that, to him strangers do not exist. They are just friends that he has not yet met. If one has a choice, he will not allow himself to be carried by others that he does not know.

Secondly, we need to carry our friends to Jesus. The direction we bring them towards is the Lord Jesus Christ. The four friends brought the paralytic to Jesus. Our friendships must be intentional. It is not helpful to carry our friends all over the place, no matter how enjoyable that may be. If we feed a friend for a day or even build for him a house, what good have we done if he dies in his sins? Often Christians get so caught up with helping their friends they forget to take their friend to the Lord Jesus, the best Helper available. Jesus, promises complete help — help for the body, soul and spirit. We have seen Him change lives. He makes a difference!

Thirdly, we need to carry our friends above other people. When the four friends saw the crowded house, they lifted their sick friend above all the other people. This calls for creativity and a willingness to expend effort and finance (roof repairs!) to get our friend to Jesus. Many today do not have a passion for souls. If anything, the effort at soul winning is pathetic. We say a prayer now and then for our friend. The presentation of the gospel is ignored and if we manage to squeeze something in, we hardly persevere when the initial response is not enthusiastic. We need to work harder! Like the four friends we need creativity, we need to give priority to salvation of our friends. We need to eat souls, sleep souls and even dream souls! The eternal destiny of our friends must so occupy us that on occasions, even our loved ones need to take second place. We need to carry them above other people.

And finally, we need to carry our friends by faith. In Mark 2:5, Jesus saves the paralytic because of the faith of his friends. Similarly, we can bring our friends to the Lord and asks that He save them. No doubt each person needs to exercise his own freewill to choose the Lord in order to be saved. But we can pray that the Lord will bring about the right circumstances for that person to put his trust in Him. How many mothers have prayed for their children’s salvation and how many have had their prayers answered!

Faith is the ability to see God in every situation. It is the voice of faith that sings:

Expect a miracle everyday,
Expect a miracle when you pray;
If you expect it, God will find a way,
To perform a miracle for you today.

We are living in perilous last days. We need to make our lives count. Indeed he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30) We must look beyond our own personal problems and look out for others. Who are you carrying to Jesus today?

No comments: