Read: Mark 2:13
Jesus is teaching by the sea, and Mark doesn’t record a single word of Jesus’ lesson. If you take a red letter edition of Mark’s gospel and time yourself reading only Jesus’ words, the total reading time amounts to slightly more than twenty minutes. Think of it, Mark, as he is telling the entire sweeping story of Jesus, pauses for only twenty minutes to record what Jesus actually said.
He’s telling us, Jesus’ disciples, something without telling us. He is saying something without saying it. Here in this gospel we have only twenty minutes of face time with Jesus. Those on the seashore that day weren’t listening to a belief system being spelled out, they were watching Jesus live what He preached. Mark’s sense of urgency is an invitation for us to listen intently.
Much of the life of the disciple is dedicated to ministry; be it praying for others, serving others, or teaching others. However, these don’t always lead to being with God. Ministry can divert us away from responding to God’s presence. It can cloud our sensitivity to the reality to which we are dedicated. While we may have deeply held beliefs, what’s missing is a face-to-face, furious love affair with God Himself. An intimacy born from a courageous trust in Jesus. The starting point is not belief, but trust.
The proclamation of the kingdom was born from the urgency in the heart of Jesus. It was crucial that He bring the good news of the gospel of grace so that people would realize how loved they really are, how their lives would be forever transformed and a new kingdom would spring into being. We are privileged to share in the intimacy of Jesus with his Father. We are called to live and celebrate the same freedom that made Jesus so attractive and authentic.
As we have studied in our series on Mark, we see the same fervency in the four men that day who brought their friend to Jesus, they moved with a sense of urgency. They were not detoured by the masses of people at the building in which Jesus was preaching, nor the roof that separated them from the Savior. With resolve, they picked up their paralyzed friend, placed him on an old bed roll and pushed through the crowd, then dug through the roof-top and lowered their friend to Jesus. These men were sympathetic, cooperative and showed originality and perseverance. The paralyzed man would not have been healed by Jesus had the four men not gotten involved.
The startling truth is there are people in our lives who will not get to Jesus unless we get involved and take them to Jesus. As His disciples, we have to have an unrelenting attitude which says I will not stop until I get them to Jesus. Mark’s gospel includes the story of the paralyzed man as a reminder that sin stiffens us out, separates us from God. There are hindrances in bringing others to Jesus. Who do you know that is paralyzed in their faith either because they had a horrible experience in church, or they became bogged down by sin and just never seemed to get traction to move forward?
We have given away our responsibility as disciples and witnesses to YouTube preachers. We cannot waste one more day while the freeing love of Jesus burns white hot. Get in on the carrying of others to Jesus. Pick up a mat and get involved.
Take some time in prayer and instead of focusing on friends and family, meetings and events, sit silently and listen for the voice of love. Let yourself be caught up in God’s great love.