Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? Mark 2:9
Joseph Prince was teaching this morning, and he said, when he was studying, he asked God, “Why didn’t you just say ‘rise up and walk instead of take up your bed and walk.’ ” You know the story. I remembered that it once occurred to me to think, “Why did Jesus tell the lame man, like a little child, to pick up his bed?” But I didn’t pursue the question. So I missed the greater meaning and the blessing. It seemed petty at the time. But not one word that Jesus spoke was superfluous. Mr. Prince went on to explain that the man had been lying on that bed for most of his lifetime. He had been in a position of rest the whole time, but was miserable. What he needed was rest from his impairment and his circumstances. Jesus was challenging us to question God’s meaning on the word Rest. At Jesus’s feet was the place where this man expected to find it. His prayer was not just to walk, but to be able to get up on his own, and to be free from the bed. So Jesus was not just freeing the man from his illness, but also from his position on the ground, and the reality of living in his bed. Oddly, to be free from his bed, he had to be able to take control of his bed from his new position of being able to stand and walk. That is a much grander picture of being made well than one of just getting up to walk. I believe it meant that the man was suddenly able to adjust to the abrupt change in his life as well. Was it a greater thing that he could miraculously walk, or be able to adjust to having to do things for himself after 38 years of being waited on?
My intent here however, is to get you to ask questions about God’s words on a regular basis. Ask, when you study, “God why did you say it that way?” Some of the symbolism in Jesus’s teachings was understood immediately by his Jewish peers. Just as we recognize that there is a culture of music that would use the word “sick” in modern language to mean that something is “really good in an unexpected way,” Jesus’ peers understood the idioms of their language. For us, it is sometimes foreign. But more often than not, Jesus had a greater underlying meaning, the result of which was - he could teach and expect the Religionists to be confused, but the seekers would hear and understand. The *Spirit of God opened the meaning to their hearts. He often instructed his listeners that only the children of God could understand.
I have heard an occasional preacher say to never question God. Or to lash out at God, or pray in anger, or ask God, “why?” Jesus did not teach any of these things. The friends of Job did. But not Jesus. God expects us to be persons with emotions, and seekers of truth, not zombies or slaves to what we have been taught. In this way, the scriptures always remain fresh. And we don't become the puppets of modern day Pharisees. I suggest even to children to question anything someone teaches you, until you can find reason to believe it for yourself. I deliberately would say something false to my children, or to my Sunday School Class to challenge them to rebuke me. And of course when they said, “That isn’t true,” I would complement them on thinking for themselves and standing up for the truth.
This kind of learning is a blessing from God. It is intended to allow us to give the Spirit an opportunity to commune with our hearts. *The greatest example of this was when Jesus would question his disciples – who do people say that I am …., who do you think I am? He often sent them back to the scriptures of old for their proof. That is exactly what we should do to understand God’s intents. Some, who go back, will only see a small part of the Old Testament and it will always revolve around the 10 commandments. Like the Pharisees, law is the only thing some will see. But a seeker who opens his or her heart to the answer from God, will begin to see patterns throughout the scriptures that reveal themes of God’s truths. Solid principles on which to build life. They will verify one another. If the truth is found throughout the Word, it isn’t a freak revelation. We take a lot of truths for granted in the information era, but so much of what is still there is a hidden jewel, waiting to be revealed by the Spirit. Jesus challenged us to find them. He even used the example of the “Pearl of Great Price,” to indicate the value of being willing to dispose of everything you think you already know to possess the precious - what God wants you to know. Don’t miss God’s blessing by taking the Word on someone else’s declaration. I challenge you to not believe me and go see for yourself! LOL
*However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. John 16:13
*Then they understood that He did not tell them
to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and
Sadducees. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His
disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said,
“Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the
prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:12 - 15
Lord, keep my curiosity keen especially when I am reading your Word. Make the Bible come alive with new meaning, and precious truths. Keep me looking for the jewels inside. And thank you for hiding them there. in Jesus' name, AMEN