Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Relentless Pursuit

In preparation for a message for our middle school program I have been reading Mark 2 this morning. As I was focusing on the first section (Mark 2:1-5) and was struck... I was cut and challenged deeply. I love how God's Word does that. I can read a passage a thousand times, and almost every time I do, it's new to me, and I see something I had missed before and I am cut to the heart. Anyway...

Chapter 2 of Mark starts off with Jesus returning to the town of Capernaum. This is a place that recently had been turned upside down with the teaching and miracles of Jesus. So, as you would expect, when Jesus returned the town and surrounding area exploded with excitement and was filled with people trying to hear Jesus speak...to have Jesus heal them or heal someone the loved.

After setting the scene, Mark's lens turns to five men. These men are close friends, and one of these men is a paralytic. Hearing that Jesus has returned, the four other men decide to make the trek to Capernaum so that Jesus might heal their friend. But upon arriving at the place where Jesus is teaching they find that it is too crowded for them to get in... the way is blocked...there's too many people.

This is where a beautiful thing happens. These four men refuse to take no for answer and decide to make a way to get their friend to Jesus. They end up taking their friend onto the roof of the home where Jesus is staying and tearing a hole in the ceiling so that can lower their friend down to Jesus. Jesus, surprised and encouraged by the love that these men have for their friend, not only heals the man but also restores this man's relationship to God the Father... something so far beyond the superficial issues the man started his day off with.

As I was reading this I was struck by the relentless pursuit of the four men to get their friend to Jesus. They were not willing to give up...they were not willing to see their friend suffer any longer. They were going to get him to Jesus without regard for the cost or the protocol of that day. This is love! I love these men and I have never met them.... but then... the sucker punch came...and the question popped into my head... Do I love like that?

Do I love my family and friends in that way. Do I care for them enough to be moved to relentlessly pursue their best and to bring them to the feet of Jesus without regard to what it costs me or to the protocol I have been given? If I am honest... I don't. But I want to.

The weight of this hit me hard as I thought about this. This is how Jesus loves me! This is how Jesus loves you! We were utterly lost and filled with the sickness and disease of sin. We were unable to help ourselves...unable to find healing...unable to do anything good for ourselves. We were, as the Bible says, dead in our sin and on our way to destruction... But Jesus would not accept this as the final answer. He was not willing to give up on us. He loves us too much!

So, without regard for the cost (and it was great!) and without regard for the protocol of our world, Jesus tore open the roof of heaven and made a way! He made a way for us to find healing. He made a way for us to be forgiven of our rebellion and sin so that our relationship with God the Father could be restored. He lived the life that we should have lived and then died the death that we should have died because of our sin! THIS IS LOVE!

I want to love like this! I want to love with abandon! For this, my friends, is how we have been loved! This story...one that I am sure we have passed over so quickly without much thought...is meant to BREAK US! We are loved!

Walk in that today. Love from that place today.

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