I pray that, as the fall gets going, the Lord grants us all good health. As a family we need to pray for one another as often as we can. We are scattered around the Puget Sound so, instead of a prayer meeting, I think it is important to hold a designated day of prayer as a church. So, on Thursday Mornings from 7am to 9am, we will hold a weekly prayer vigil. As often as life and work allow, between 7am and 9am, concentrate on praying for our community; both Redeemer and the city in which you live.
Pray for the Worship service, marriages, vocations, childrearing, health, stewardship and gratitude of Redeemer Church and your city. Write this list on a sticky and put up somewhere you can see it.
As we do this together, separately, we will actually be drawing closer to one another and the Father as a body. Prayer is the key to a healthy spiritual life and a healthy church. Praise and petition God. We are all sufferers and sinners, so together we need to grow stronger in this key spiritual discipline.
Filling up the edges
Mark 2:8–11 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
It is easier to say your sins are forgiven on one level because no one can verify it. It’s harder in another sense because only God can do it.
Imagine at this point a large coy smile on the face of our Lord. Jesus is making sport of their arrogance and pride. He isn’t just challenging their authority and courting death, he is making a joke. Staring his executions in the face, with defiance, he makes sport of them. Jesus is a swashbuckler. A merry warrior. A man of God.
“We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.”– C.S. Lewis
The scribes are no less dependent on Jesus for the work of God than the paralytic, but their learning and status make them less aware of their need for it. The phrase “that you may know,” is used by God when about to perform his mighty acts before the obstinate pharaoh in Exodus 8:22, 9:14, 9:29 and 10:2. Jesus wants them to know(v. 10), that is, to experience firsthand the authority by which he forgives sins (v. 9). In v. 7the scribes ask who “can” (Gk. dynatai) forgive sins, that is, who has the ability. Jesus declares that the Son of Man not only has the ability but the authorityto do so.
The word for “authority” (exousia)is the same word used to describe Jesus’ teaching and exorcism in the Capernaum synagogue (1:21–28). From a human perspective it is safe to pronounce the forgiveness of sins, since that statement cannot be falsified. Jesus, however, will provide evidence of the former by healing the paralytic, which can be verified by all.
His authority to forgive, no less effective because of its invisibility, is proved by healing the paralytic. The authority to heal and the authority to forgive are the same authority. “‘But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.…’ He said to the paralytic, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’”
Jesus embodies the words of Exodus 15:26, “I am the LORD, your healer,”and Psalm 130:3–4“If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness,.” The heavens have been torn open and God has come among us. The Kingdom of Heaven has invaded earth and it is glorious to behold and terrifying in its grace as it is revealed in the forgiving of sins and healing of the ill.
In Jesus’ house, He is declaring the word. And we have two responses; active pursuit and passive skepticism.
Jesus goes from synagogue to synagogue declaring the truth. It is not a paper submitted for peer review. It is not a message or a speech. It’s not good or bad like a lecture.
Either people are actively pursuing Jesus, bearing theirs burden to Jesus at whatever cost; causing disruptions and stirring things up or they are full of passive skepticism that says, “did God really say?” “What have you to do with us, Jesus?” “Where do you get the authority?”
They are all Israelites. They are all “Christians,” but belief is the active pursuit of Jesus and unbelief is passive skepticism.
Are you bearing your burden to Jesus? Willing to cause a stir in your marriage? At work? In society? In this church? Is your soul crippled? Your marriage? This church? Our government? Are you actively bearing it to Jesus whatever the cost? Whatever the disruption of your easy, safe, selfish comfortable life?
Are you passively grumbling in your heart about what God is teaching you? About God is doing?
You are either passionately pursuing Jesus or you are stuck in passive skepticism. You are either bearing the burden toward Jesus, are being borne on the stretcher to Jesus or are a cripple who needs the community of four to intercede for you, or you are passively watching others while you accuse and doubt in your heart.
The fear of men, moralism, saying “peace-peace,” where there is no peace are forms of passive skepticism and they are all idols.
The word of god says read your bibles, pray, discipline your children with the rod, love your wife, respect your husband, submit, render unto God the things that are God’s, raise your children in the fear and admonition of the LORD, repent and believe.
And that either stirs you up to action ready to tear some roofs off or it causes you to sit idly by grumbling in your heart.
Are you in community, pursuing Jesus, tearing the roof off, making a stir?
We stutter in our hearts, “well I don’t want to cause a scene with the kids, I don’t want to stir up an argument with my spouse, I don’t think the preacher has the authority to tell me where I should send my kids for school or what I should watch on Netflix or ask me how often I’m making love to my wife.” You justif yourself by saying in your heart “it’s not my place to address my boss’s language, or demeanor toward employees. You shouldn’t draw negative attention to yourself. Can Jesus really heal my crippled marriage, my crippled soul, our crippled society?”
This is passive skepticism and it is rank unbelief. The gospel message is the same at this point; repent and believe, the kingdom of Heaven has come and Jesus is at hand.
Around the worldwide web
Job 5:7“but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”
We all desperately need to pray to understand and embrace this verse. It is deep waters. Here is one of the greatest conference talks I have ever heard and it just so happens to be about this verse.
Make me a fruitful garden JOHN 15:16
God and Father,
I pray for you to so nurture me that I may be to you as a beautiful garden, so that many people may enjoy your fruit and be attracted through me to all godliness. Write into my heart, by your Holy Spirit, whatever is abundantly found in Scripture. Let me constantly keep your word in mind, and permit it to become far more precious to me than my own life and all else that I cherish on earth. Help me to live and act accordingly. To you be praise and thanks in eternity.
Steve (changed with Covey), Prayer
DISCIPLESHIP CLASS: A SURVEY OF THE GOSPELS
Sunday mornings 9AM, through 11/18/18. Childcare provided for children 2-6. Kids aged 7 and up are encouraged to join the adult class.
LADIES’ FELLOWSHIP GATHERING
Wednesday, Nov 28, 7pm at Lannie Brown’s home. Tami will email out details