JUNE 21st, 2017 – DEVOTE

You may have heard this challenging question before, but let me challenge you with it again. Here goes…
If Christianity were a crime, would there be enough of it in you to convict you?

Let me follow that up with… convict you for how long? Six months… 3 years… life? Hopefully, that little question challenges you as much as it once again challenges me. I thought of that question today as I was reading Mark 2.

In the beginning of this chapter, Jesus and His new found disciples are on their way to a town called Capernaum. After the people of the area hear that Jesus is in town they start coming to Him in droves. As a matter of fact, there are so many people, that the house where Jesus was staying was jam packed – there was standing room only. The picture I get is, people were standing outside the door, listening intently to catch a word of whatever Jesus was teaching them.

While there, five guys show up. One of them is crippled. The other four are carrying him on a mat, something like a stretcher. But when they get to the house, they realize very quickly that there’s no way they’re going to get their friend inside to Jesus.

Now I would assume that most people would be quickly discouraged and turn around and leave. Ours might stand outside waiting to possibly catch a moment. If you’re a Minnesotan, you would probably stand there and hope that people would notice your dilemma, have some sympathy, and let you through and then when that doesn’t happen you get mad at everyone and just leave.

Well, it didn’t take these four men long to figure out a plan. They weren’t going to waste time. It was now or never! So they did the only natural thing – they went up on top of the roof. Have you ever stopped to think of what a interesting plan of attack that was? Why would you think it would be easier to carry your friend, strapped to a mat, up to the roof, instead of, let’s say, just asking everybody to step aside so you could go in the house to see Jesus? But they’re not looking for the easy way… They’re looking for The Way, and The Truth, and The Life – they’re looking for Jesus.

So, they cut a hole in some guy’s roof (which I’m sure they made restitution for later), and lowered their friend down by ropes, right in front of Jesus.

Now here’s what stands out to me. As Jesus is standing in front of the crowd teaching, He must have noticed pieces of roofing falling down around Him, and then this crippled guy being lowered down. I can almost hear the stillness of the crowd, “wondering what in the world is going on.” And then the Bible says…
“When Jesus saw how much faith they had…” Mark 2:5 CEV

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Ask yourself… can Jesus see that much faith in me? If Christianity were a crime, would there be enough of it in me to convict me? What do others see in me?

Father,
Let my faith rise up so others can see You in me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen