Past Issues

Jesus -- the Messiah # 6

Review:


Over the past five days, we read the first chapter of Mark’s gospel account of Jesus’ life. We saw how Jesus began His attack on Satan’s hold on the earth and how he began calling people to join Him in the struggle to establish righteousness on earth.  We saw how Jesus brought the Presence of God’s Kingdom of love to the earth in healing and compassion and release from evil.  

The Messiah was long-expected to be the agent of God’s holy will on earth.  What would that will of God be and how would it be expressed?  We now move into the next chapters of this gospel and see how these events continue to unfold.


Section 2: Jesus Begins to Establish the Kingdom of God



Read Mark 2:1-12.


1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat 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 tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”



With this account, we begin to see the opposition to Jesus’ ministry developing. The forces of control realize that they are confronting a whole new Presence and Power.

At that time, people thought that disease and misfortune were God’s punishment for a person’s sin. If a bad thing happened in one’s life, it was assumed that they deserved it as a punishment from God. This understanding caused people to feel afraid and resentful toward God. They would think: “I know I can’t be perfect, and God knows it too. Yet, God punishes me when I fail, either in my actions or my attitudes. Why does God set up impossible rules to keep?”

God does not intend such a distant and fearful relationship with His children. He wants them to see Him as compassionate and forgiving and saving. As we saw in Lesson One, this is what the Kingdom of God is all about.

Because of this misunderstanding about misfortune being the will and punishment of God, the first thing Jesus did for the paralytic was announce to him that his sins are forgiven. Jesus wanted to remove any feelings of guilt or unworthiness that the man might have because of his illness. Before Jesus cured his physical hurt, He wanted to cure his spiritual hurt: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (v. 5)

The “teachers of the law” had used this fear of God to control people and keep them afraid of God and of their spiritual authorities. Satan wanted people to live in uncertainty and anxiety, feeling distant from God.

But Jesus was bringing in the Kingdom of God’s love and salvation. He was God’s Voice and Presence on earth. He “has authority on earth to forgive sins.” (v. 10) Jesus wanted people to know Who God really is and what He is like. They could see and experience and hear and feel that in Him.

What is your attitude toward God? Do you feel afraid and distant? That is not how God wants to relate to you. Jesus called God “heavenly Father,” and He invites us to know God’s love and forgiveness and security in our lives. Is that attitude toward God different from the one you have been taught?


Looking forward to your email today,


Abraham


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