The Reason for the Mission
Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Written by: Natalie Klima
17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, "Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he said to the man who was paralyzed - "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home." 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen extraordinary things today."
As Garrett was going over this passage of scripture on Wednesday I had a thought that honestly has never stuck out to me in the entire 26 years of me attending church. See, growing up in Sunday school I’d heard the story about these wonderful friends that had picked up their friend and brought him to Jesus. And of course after bringing their friend to Jesus they had a hard time getting in to see him so they went as far as to lower him through the roof. Hearing the story from a young age has kind of lost its magic… The first time I heard it I was surprised and amazed that friends would go as far as that, to lower their friend down to Jesus, to go to that much work and trouble to find a way to get their friend to Him. But this last Wednesday something that has just stuck with me the last couple of days is also the incredible faith that those friends had to have in the life changing power that’s in Jesus‘s hands, the whole reason they took action. Yes, it was incredible that they were so determined and I think that is what I had kind of focused on for a lot of my life. I focused on the physical action of them taking their friend to Jesus, how they were such wonderful friends and basically praising the friends for their action, as opposed to focusing on the fact that they believed and trusted and hoped in Jesus so greatly that they knew if they went through the work of bringing their friend to Him their friend would be healed. I mean there would be no way that I would ever drag a sick friend to a man that I didn’t think could heal them. I struggle sometimes with this. I focus too much on what action I’m taking because I’m “supposed to”. I always think that maybe if I’m determined enough to do something or can take a certain action in someway then my friends might come to Jesus. I make it about me. What actions and steps I can take instead of focusing on Jesus. It’s not about me. And it’s not about you. Our grit, our determination, our willingness, our drive for others to encounter Jesus, all of these things can be great, but when it comes to bringing others to Christ and letting them have that experience it means NOTHING without the person of Jesus. I can make goals and I can cast visions of what I think would be a good evangelism tool or a good way to interact with people, but if I make it all about me, and my focus is what I am determined to do, and take Jesus out of the equation even for a second, it means nothing.
I hope that as you’re reflecting on the story we might see the absolute complete trust and faith that those friends had. They knew that if they only brought their friend to Jesus, if they only brought him near, they knew that he would be healed. It wasn’t about them and I think that we can all see how selfless those friends were in bringing their friend to Jesus, but their friend wasn’t only healed because they decided to carry him to some town to meet a man. Their friend was healed because of Jesus. It took work, it took sweat, it took some creative mapping to get their friend down to Jesus. I want us to also sit back and see the real reason of their “mission” if you will. Their belief and trust in Jesus manifested itself to action in bringing their friend to be healed. I’m not giving us an excuse to not take action. I just want us to be aware and attentive to the thought behind why we are taking action. Are we taking action because we are loving others and want them to experience Jesus? Or are we focusing on the action and if Jesus shows up that’s fine too? Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. John 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.