Mark 2:3,4 – And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
I love the miracles of Jesus. We catch glimpses of His glory when we look again at His marvelous works. Today’s verse speaks about the paralyzed man who was carried by four friends to see Jesus. There were too many people crowding around Jesus but these four friends would not be denied. Their friend needed to see Jesus. What could they do? Why, climb onto the roof and tear a hole in it. Of course, this was the only way and they were going to take their chance. Maybe you know someone that needs Jesus. Whatever their problem; cancer, paralysis, alcoholism, sexual addiction; financial or marital woes, the answer is the same. Bring them to Jesus. Find a way, no obstacle should be too great. Here are some comments from Matthew Henry on today’s text.
“The faith of his friends in bringing him to Christ. His distemper was such, that he could not come to Christ himself, but as he was carried. Even the halt and the lame may be brought to Christ, and they shall not be rejected by him….It was his misery, that he needed to be so carried, and bespeaks the calamitous state of human life; it was their charity, who did so carry him, and bespeaks the compassion that it is justly expected should be in the children of men toward their fellow-creatures in distress, because we know not how soon the distress may be our own. These kind relations or neighbors thought, if they could but carry this poor man once to Christ, they should not need to carry him any more; and therefore made hard shift to get him to him; and when they could not otherwise get to him, they uncovered the roof where he was.”
Maybe you need to come to Jesus. You know the condition of your soul, maybe your soul is paralyzed. It could be paralyzed by fear, or paralyzed by sickness, or paralyzed by pride or resentment or anger. It makes no difference, the answer is the same, find your way to His feet. Your sins will be forgiven and your life will be made whole.
Phil. 2:5-7 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Once your eyes begin to open to Christ and His kingdom you begin to appreciate the things you took for granted. The glory and the humility of Christ is like that. I remember when I began to see the majesty and the greatness of our God. I was on an evangelism trip between Sacramento and San Francisco and was driving through the coastal mountains. I was struck by the beauty and power revealed in creation, His majesty was all around me. I remember reading Isaiah 40 as we were driving and was struck by this verse, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scale and the hills in a balance?” I was suddenly aware of His greatness.
Other times I was awed by His humility. How did this great God become a human? How did He suffer and die such an unjust death? What would make Him stop and take notice of this insignificant corner of His creation. His humility contrasted with His grandeur is overwhelming. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes this phenomenon.
“We see by manifold instances, what a tendency an high station has in men, to make them to be of quite a contrary disposition. If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged. Christ condescends to wash our feet; but how would great men (or rather the bigger worms), account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!”
The dung hill thing always makes me laugh. The point is that all our accomplishments are simply a pile of dung. The shocking thing is that people are proud of their pile of #%@&. ‘My pile is bigger than your pile.’
So let’s bask in His greatness and stand amazed at His humility. He is the lion and the lamb and He has prevailed for us.
To him be glory both now and forever.
2 Peter 3:18
The scene in Revelations 4 is quite stunning. It is a rare glimpse given through the eyes of the Apostle John of the throne and all the activity associated with it. There are twenty four elders, twenty four thrones, lightnings and thunder, seven torches (which is a revelation of the Spirit of God), the Crystal Sea, four strange creatures, and the whole focus of all the activity was to the One who sat upon the throne. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, the One who is, who was, and is to come.” The atmosphere is alive, pregnant, with supernatural life. It is the atmosphere of worship, it is life in eternity. Obviously, the Lord is being worshipped in heaven and it will continue forever. The only question is this, what about now? Have you entered into life itself magnifying the only One worthy of our adoration.? Here are some thoughts from Charles Spurgeon on this life of worship.
“Heaven will be full of the ceaseless praises of Jesus. Eternity! Thine unnumbered years shall speed their everlasting course, but forever and for ever, to him be glory. Is he not a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek? To him be glory. Is he not king for ever?-King of kings and Lord of lords, the everlasting Father? To him be glory for ever. Never shall his praises cease. That which was bought with blood deserves to last while immortality endures. The glory of the cross must never be eclipsed; the luster of the grave and of the resurrection must never be dimmed. O Jesus! thou shalt be praised for ever. Long as immortal spirits live-long as the Father’s throne endures-for ever, for ever, unto thee shall be glory.”
John was caught up into this atmosphere of worship from a place of worship. Revelations 1 says that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when this visitation and vision began. John had stepped into the worship of God now on earth and it carried him into the edge of the eternal worship in heaven. In the Spirit on the Lord’s day, what does that mean? That is describing someone lost in worship, caught up in the Holy Spirit, participating on earth with the heavenly scene that is always taking place. Worship is alive, joining in is where our life begins.
MERRY THURSDAY BY PARRIS
-“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” 2 Cor. 3:18 Berean
Our good friend Kelanie Goeckler wrote a song called “The New has Come” and in her lyrics she sings “I am becoming like the One I’m beholding. The old is gone, and the new has come”.
The more we behold the scripture, behold Christ in His intimacy and behold the love of God all around us the more divine information we will receive. Jesus was always speaking through parables so that “those that heard would hear, and those that saw would see”. Most of us just aren’t beholding Him in all things but rather behold images/voices/noise that is of this world.
To allow ourselves to be in the constant state of change is painful and to obey his voice sometimes impossible. I love this quote found in Calvin’s Commentary, “Tis not a change only into the image of God with slight colors, an image drawn as with charcoal; but a glorious image even in the rough draught, which grows up into greater beauty by the addition of brighter colors: Changed (saith the Apostle, 2 Corinthians 3:18) into the same image from glory to glory: glory in the first lineaments as well as glory in the last lines.” —( Charnock’s Works)
I pray he has done more than the charcoal drawing on me! But I am becoming what I am beholding. Yes, today I decide what voice will I listen to in my life and being fixated on our faults can lead us away from what we should be beholding. Another devotional said, “The continual grubbing on the inside to see whether we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, morbid type of Christianity, not the robust, simple life of the child of God.” Kevin Ott
My friend the old is gone and the new has come. Learn to behold Christ in all things. Behold Christ in His glorified state, behold Christ working in you a far bigger transformation than you can ever imagine. There is nothing greater than redemption.
Psa. 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
David taught us to connect our whole life to our passion for God. It was David’s passion for the Lord that called him into service, filled him with courage when facing powerful enemies and dangers, caused him to birth twenty-four hour worship, to release spontaneous and prophetic worship that still lives today, and also satisfied and sustained David until he took his last breath. David wasn’t perfect, none of us are, but he taught us that God was enough for the entirety of our lives. “Whom have I in heaven but You, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides you.” Desperate love pulsates through this song and all the Davidic psalms. This same love is available today for all of us. The Lord has poured out His Spirit, the love of God, on all who are thirsty. If you fall into that thirsty category you too can taste, and yes even live, in this passionate love that flows from the Father and the Son. Here is how Matthew Henry described this love in the 1729.
“His thoughts here dwell with delight upon his own happiness in God, as much greater then the happiness of the ungodly that prospered in the world. He saw little reason to envy them what they had in the creature when he found how much more and better, surer and sweeter, comforts he had in the Creator, and what cause he had to congratulate himself on this account. He had complained of his afflictions; but this makes them very light and easy, All is well if God be mine. We have here the breathings of a sanctified soul towards God, and its repose in him, as that to a godly man really which the prosperity of a worldly man is to him in conceit and imagination: Whom have I in heaven but thee? There is scarcely a verse in all the psalms more expressive than this of the pious and devout affections of a soul to God; here it soars up towards him, follows hard after him, and yet, at the same time, has an entire satisfaction and complacency in him.”
Love is very real. A man’s love for his wife, a mother’s love for her son, absolutely real. The love of God is like that but infinitely stronger and sweeter. Taste and see for yourself today. Don’t be surprised if David’s song get’s stuck in your head.
“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”
The things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not.
1 Corinthians 1:28
What an unusual God we have. He chooses the least likely to be His tools, exactly what we would never do. I can remember as a young Christian thinking how great it would be if this rock star or that celebrity would become a Christian. I used to think that would be the greatest thing ever and surely many people would be converted. It took a while for me to learn that that was not the Lord’s way of operating. I remember being so excited back in the seventies when Bob Dylan confessed to being a born again Christian. He even wrote and recorded a couple of Christian albums. That didn’t last long. His fans hated him, the media slammed him, and the church exploited him; what a fiasco. No wonder the Lord chooses nobodies; that way He gets the glory, not the celebrity and his great talent and influence. Here is how Watchman Nee describes this characteristic of God.
“The cross is the greatest leveler in the universe. It brings every one of us to zero…. The difference between a Christian who progresses fast and one who progresses slowly is in the faithfulness and obedience of the former, never in anything he possesses by nature. There are many things too strong and too imposing for God to use. Instead, He not only chooses the weak things and the despised: He goes further. The apostle seems almost at a loss to know how to define the things, so weak and despicable in men’s eyes, that God elects to use. In a telling phrase he sums them up as the “things which are not.” Do you fall into that category? Do not despair. Far from being at a disadvantage as compared with others, you may in fact have the edge over them. For at least you are already at zero and have not a long way still to go to reach God’s starting point!”
That brings us back to us; we not may have much celebrity stature or a whole lot of talent, that is exactly the qualifications the Lord is looking for. Here is how Paul says it in 1Cor. 1:26-28 – The Message, “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’?”
1John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Have you ever thought about John’s description of God, “God is love”? Many would think that this really means love is God or the new age thought that this love, or God, is in all mankind. Not! God is love is not anything like love is God. God’s love is eternal, no beginning and no end. God has always been love. If God has always been love who did He love before creation? His Son of course. This love the Father has for the Son is unique, it is actually more than an emotion or a feeling. The Father’s love for His Son is actually so unique that His love is a person, the Holy Spirit. That is why John said, “God is love”. Here are some thoughts by C.S. Lewis on the love of God.
“And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. The union between the Father and the Son is such a live concrete thing that this union itself is also a Person. I know this is almost inconceivable, but look at it thus. You know that among human beings, when they get together in a family, or a club, or a trade union, people talk about the ‘spirit’ of that family, or club, or trade union. They talk about its ‘spirit’ because the individual members, when they are together, do really develop particular ways of talking and behaving which they would not have if they were apart.* It is as if a sort of communal personality came into existence. Of course, it is not a real person: it is only rather like a person. But that is just one of the differences between God and us. What grows out of the joint life of the the Father and Son is a real Person, is in fact the Third of the three Persons who are God.”
So step into the love of God. Open your heart to the Father, His only Son, and the incredible Holy Spirit. He loves you with the love He loves His Son with, it is precious and life changing. Before you know it you too will engage in God’s eternal dance.