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Can you see yourself in the crowd? Are you huddled in tight to hear the words of Jesus? Are you there to ﬁnd fault in something said? Perhaps you are the homeowner or friends of someone who desperately needs to be brought close?
Mark 2 Who are You?
By joanna fruhauf
This week in our Journey with Jesus, He returns to where He now calls home, in Capernaum has caused a huge crowd to gather. Everyone is clamoring to hear Jesus and get near Him...The news of His astonishing teachings and supernatural healings have spread like wild ﬁre 1
throughout the town and surrounding regions. Prior to this event Jesus is said to have healed so many people, cast out demons, healed lepers, vanquished fevers (simon's Mother in law)Jews were healed, even a ROMAN centurion's servant was healed, Jesus was the cause of an
astounding catch-All time high record numbers, of ﬁsh in MID DAY - JESUS was on the MOVE - He seemed to be on a 'shock and awe' mission! He had been in Nazareth, and Thrown out, nearly killed for his RADICAL statements of association to God,
FACES IN THE CROWD
Mark 2 Who are you?
By Joanna Fruhauf
He was in Galilee at Large, creating a following, training disciples, calling people away from their trade, teaching thousands on hill sides. Luke says he was preaching in the Synaguoes of Galilee PLURAL....so several Saturdays...few weeks in a row...in the surrounding towns...
- He taught people to search their hearts, rather than just act in a 'moral' way....Go deeper - The Beatitudes were shocking...seemingly counter-intuitive...HOW could the poor in spirit be BLESSED.... He told people to be SALT and LIGHT preservers and directors, To be ACTIVE not Word was getting around PASSIVE....to fulﬁll the that His Teachings were LAW not by outward radical - they were practices but INWARD transformative, they attitudes! He was striking caused paradigm shifts blows to the CORE of Basically seemed to be their beliefs,both to their altering the RELIGIOUS cultural system and their & CULTURAL religious system. landscape... They were quantum leaps forward in He was talking radical, thought that people shake ups, not of couldn't get enough of, kingdoms, and powers or needed to hear again that rule, But His and again, to hear them Kingdom, and The power expounded on, and of God to Rule in their unpackaged - -- - lives as they submit to because they were so that authority. revolutionary.
No longer making sure you get yours, but extending beyond your self..to others ...They get there's...out of love... No longer an eye for an eye, but turning the cheek - leaving vengence to God No longer loving your own, but loving your enemies...Being a vessel of Mercy No longer go through the motions of good works but being submitted in your heart, No longer doing things for Show & approval of men, but UNSEEN by others, so that God might honor them. No longer judging to condemn, but judging to discern so that others can be interacted with appropriately. This news of Jesus was Spreading like wildﬁre, and now, those that took little notice a few months earlier, are caught up in
the whirlwind, the frenzy....EVERYONE wants to hear and see, what they've been hearing ABOUT - no longer satisﬁed by rumor, THEY WANT A PERSONAL ENCOUNTER! It stirred an incredible interest, a hunger, a thirst, HOPE! It seemed to wage a war against different principles they had grown accustomed to, different ideas, different attitudes, and yet was all together peaceful. This scene must have been a dramatic one...Imagine with me what it might have looked like...Here [Mid week? Mid-Day?] Everyone is ﬁlled with anticipation. Multitudes of faces, each with different agendas, ﬁnd them selves ﬁlling a house far beyond its capacity..each captivated by their own questions, "What will He say? Who will He heal? What paradigm shifts will He make?" Read Mark 2:1-12 and come be part of the crowd as Jesus arrives home. Let's peer in together and see just how His audience responds, whether with wonder or offense? Unpack with me the scene...What was the scene like...? town of Capernaum..headquarters of Jesus ministry- costal city....nearly everyone ﬁsherman, trade city. JESUS - sitting in the Center of the home probably against a wall, inorder to have everyone infront of him....people sitting on the ﬂoor, crammed close to eachother, leaning on eachother...standing against the back and side walls, people squeezing together in doorways, heads popping through bodies just to get a glimpse of this Man with Words of authority. Just to get a peek at Him whom others have been touched and made whole by... There Jesus sits, speaking words that are powerful, piercing and profound! With welcoming attitude of all in the room, not despising any of the faces there, but all welcome, all engaged, all enjoyed! What of those in the room....Whose faces do we see? 1st group of faces Longing, hungry, thirsty, tired, worn, seeking faces...people wanting to know more, hear more, understand more of what Jesus spoke, the Kingdom of Heaven...what that meant to them in their world...how to apply those truths to their lives, to consider its truths....Who would have been welcome, Men, women Children? unlike in the synagogues women who had to stand on the outside, children that were often turned away, sick, lame, blind,
JESUS - caring for their hungry hearts, their broken spirits, their troubled minds, their humble state of living...wanting to provide their every need, their every thirst with Life abundant, so regardless of the situations they ﬁnd themselves in they might have a live of purpose! 2nd group of facesScribes/Pharisees, curious to know and test and discipher this new man, with His radical teachings... So many people at synogue have mentioned Him, so many have heard Him speak and relay what He has said with such passion and excitement....PERHAPS this IS a man of GOD...a PROPHET, wouldn't that be exciting...certainly the prophet have not spoken since Malachi, GOD's VOICE has been silent for 400 years....PERHAPS this man DOES have something to say....They sound scriptural, they make sense, they are provoking, and YET IF HE WAS FROM GOD, Wouldn't God have gone through the proper channels of authority....Why would God send this man to undermine OUR Authority? -- -- Perhaps HE is nothing more than a zealot, that seeks to stir trouble with Rome...that wouldn't be necessarily a bad thing....as long as we could be SURE he had the ability, power, stamina and wherewithal to accomplish that, but chances are that will cause too many changes....too much sacriﬁce...too many power shifts...He could upset the powers that BE......He could be dangerous... He could be a false Prophet, a false Messiah, we've seen these before...drawing the people away with fancy words, false promises of hope, only to be eventually have those hopes crushed and nailed to another roman cross....with several of our dear mislead citizens along side them... This is someone we need to pay attention to...and determine whether or not He is who He says He is.... JESUS - is happy to see them... caring that they recieve more than the Letter of the Law, which is good and pure and holy, but that it sinks past their actions, to their hearts...that they would grasp and lay hold of the Spirit of the Law which brings forth life eternal, life that springs up from the innermost being...That they would be TRUE leaders and shepherds of the People.... 3rd Face in the Crowd Whose house? - Peter? ???? There's the home owner off in the corner...BEAMING with excitement, delight and pride...How excited to Host This Jesus....This healer, This wise man, This prophet, This superstar!..what an enviable position to be noted as having such a crowd at your home because you KNOW Jesus....Perhaps he loved opening his home for the use of Jesus, surrendering all his own comfort, structure, rules for whatEVER might happen next...To be a vessel used by Jesus... How Exciting....
THERE's the Basic Setting INTO THIS come several more FACES - One is a paralyzed man on laying on a mat...carried by not two, but Four friends that have heard the news of Jesus arrival...They have heard the reports of miraculous healings of others...WHY NOT THEIR FRIEND TOO? Together they conspire to take their friend to Jesus, and so they carry their paralysed friend to the Home in hopes of having Jesus heal Him...They are SURE that if they can get close to Jesus, Their Friend will never again be the same! They are so convinced that they pick up their friend by the 4 corners of His mat and whether against their friends pleas or not they carry him, regardless of any reluctancy to where Jesus is going to be..... THEY ARRIVE - and its packed, I'm sure they tried several ways to maneuver through the people, begging, pleading, peering in to see where Jesus was and yet were pressed back, and hindered. THEY COULDN"T GET CLOSE! Perhaps the friend at this point feels unworthy, perhaps, He tried to call off His friends....BUT UNDETERED they carefully carried their friend up the narrow stairs along the wall to the roof...and THERE PACING out the steps to where they thought Jesus might be situated they started digging through the roof.... no tools, bare hands, digging, ripping, pulling, kicking at clay, thatch, tile and wood branched beams...until ﬁnally, a hole.... Imagine the scene inside, at ﬁrst perhaps nothing but a dim thuding and scratching sounds, growing louder and eventually causing the plaster or thatch to break apart and pieces falling through the air....until a break of sun beams through and a hand, then two hands then three peeling back an area large enough to see 4 heads pop in and look down... Everyone, is shocked, disbelieving what they are seeing, noise and clamoring ﬁll the room....This has deﬁnitely changed the mood of the room, from that of quietly listening and learning, pondering and perceiving to that of shock, dismay, confusion and a strange sense
"There, He's right there below us, quick get "????" The grab the four corners and start to lower him with some rope they found drying on the roof....or perhaps they start to lower him as far as they can, others from the crowd, stand up and catch dear"""" as he is lowered and down to the ground they place him....Finally lowered, everyone is relieved that dear """" didn't fall off the matt while being lowered making his life worse than it already was.... Jesus all the while maintaining complete composure, with a gentle pleasure in His face, as if knowing what is about to take place.... of excitement... Finally it says, When Jesus saw THEIR Faith, He said to dear "'"""" SON, (dramatic pause) your sins are forgiven you! and for a moment time would have stood still....The SCRIPTURES tell us that the scribes sitting there got offended.... saying THIS MAN Blasphemes...ONLY GOD Can forgive sins.... Perhaps others in the room had similiar things going on in their hearts....perhaps....the four friends were like, WHAT - that's ALL???? Perhaps the paralytic, was feeling, thankful for that, and resolved to a feeling of incompleteness in the moment, willing to be satisﬁed with just forgiveness because of an unworthy feeling.... Perhaps the home owner was frustatrated that all that destruction and the future costly repair was incurred only so that they guys sins would be forgiven...how inconvienced he would be for such little reward...nothing miraculous/astounding happened??? JESUS used the moment to watch the faces, and SPOKE to a deeper reality and conﬁrming Forgiveness of sins, was something ONLY God could do, and it was after sacriﬁces of BLOOD were made.... In our world...we ask for forgiveness, we give forgiveness almost as a guilt ridding activity, and yet we don't always mean it...we still harbor things...we don't believe that God really forgives us of our dibilitating, vile, destructive sins.
Perhaps we don't believe, God can or will or did actually forgive someone elses sins....someone we see that may still seem paralyzed living in the conﬁnes of a mat. Jesus knew the hearts of everyone in the room...those offended, those insecure, those with hope and faith, those with frustrations, those seeking God to prove Himself.... The Scribes were correct that ONLY God forgives - and Jesus used the opportunity to PROVE to them who He was, and that the Authority that He spoke with was not just empty words, not just thought provoking words, not just some new paradigm, philosophy or concept...BUT ACTUAL - REAL, TANGIBLE - LIVING & TRUE! - So He put it to the scribes....Whats easier....to PROVE - your sins are forgiven or get up and walk....CERTAINLY it would have been easy to say your sins are forgiven...Its more of an unseen thing...who could say they were or weren't....how would you prove it either way....But to PROVE get up and walk that would have to be a MIRACULOUS power.... Jesus kept it in the back pocket,so to speak. He could use the power to heal to validate His UNSEEN power to forgive! And so HE SAID - GET UP AND WALK - BE HEALED, - MOVE FORWARD - KNOW THAT I AM GOD, THAT I HAVE FOGEIVEN ALL Your sins and Trespasses, and to PROVE IT - I am EMPOWERING YOU by my Miraculous POWER to get off your mat, rise up, no longer constricted, no longer bound, no longer imprisoned - no longer paralyzed, BUT FREE - WHOLE and COMPLETE! EVERYONE was amazed, giving Glory to God!!!! Jesus did this several times throughout the gospels....using the moment to teach of the deeper, spirutal truths and using the physcial realm to prove the Power he had over the unseen spiritual realm...IN FACT that is why the PHYSICAL RESURRECTION of CHRIST is PARAMOUNT to Christianity. If He just died for us....How Could that be proven.....How would we really know, What kind of conﬁdence would we REALLY HAVE?
BUT the FACT THAT JESUS Physically ROSE from the dead - puts the EXCLAMATION point on His ability to forgive our sins...He PROVED it with His Power in the RESURRECTION - and this Young man being paralyzed and lowered...was a forshadow of that hope and help we all have in Christ.... WHO ARE YOU IN THE CROWD???? Are you one that has come to hear about Jesus, hungry thirsty hurting and wanting answers to lifes questions? Are you a religious person that has a set structure and actually looks for opportunities to be offended by What Jesus says or does in others so that you can keep God in your box - under your control? Are you someone that has carried someone else to Jesus, gone to bat for someone, sweat and broken through for them....? Are you someone that makes yourself available to Jesus needs for the sake of others, have you been inconvenienced by that, has it cost you? Are you someone that has been brought, perhaps even unwillingly, or with reluctance to encounter Jesus....? Who are you in the faces.... Let's pray