Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Commands of Jesus: "Take up your mat..."

The Commands of Jesus: Mark 2:1-12 - Take up your mat and go home. (Your sins are forgiven)

Context: Jesus’ teaching, healings and exorcisms are drawing crowds. While teaching in Capernaum, a group of friends, who know the power of Jesus, bring their paralyzed friend to be healed by him.

Verse 5 – When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

In verses 6-7 we see some members of the crowd quite aggravated by Jesus’ statement. They recognize that by “forgiving this man’s sins” he is claiming to be able to do something that only God could do. They think he is blaspheming. (And if he cannot forgive sins, then he definitely is blaspheming and was liable to be stoned according to the Law of the OT).

Jesus’ response? Which is easier? (Ask, which would have been easier, to heal a paralyzed man or forgive sins?).
Both are pretty difficult.
Verse 10 – Jesus points to his authority on earth by healing the man (he reveals his power as God’s Son in power).

What do you think the man needed more: to be able to walk or to have his sins forgiven?
Your answer depends on your state of spiritual need. Do you realize that you need your sins forgiven? What does that mean?

The Bible says we are all sinners.
Read Rom. 3.23 –
In this chapter, Paul is talking about our relationship with God.
In verse 22, righteousness refers to an unbroken relationship with God.
In verse 24, justification refers to being declared “not guilty” or “acquitted” of our transgressions against God. We have been redeemed, that is delivered from one status (being guilty of sinning against God; a broken relationship with God) to another (being acquitted of our sins; a healed relationship with God).
Verse 25 – Atonement – “At – one –ment” – that is what this word literally means. It refers to a healed relationship. We are now at one with God because of what Jesus has accomplished.
In the OT, atonement was accomplished by animal sacrifice. God forgave the people their sins with the performance of this sacrifice. The sacrifice symbolized that sin is costly and cost something its life. The worshiper (the one who offers the sacrifice) is represented by the animal (by placing his hand on the head of the animal). This was performed every year as a symbol.
Jesus becomes the once and for all sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. His sacrifice provides our “atonement” with God.

Hebrews 10:8-10 – we’ve been made holy through the sacrifice of Jesus. Holy means set apart, cleansed, righteous before God. Our sins have been forgive because Jesus became the once for all sacrifice that takes away our sin once for all (not to be performed every year like the OT sacrifice).

We don’t need to take up our mat (like the command of Jesus) but we do need our sins forgiven (our relationship restored with God).
Do you understand what it means to have your sins forgiven?
Do you realize what you’ve been forgiven of? If not, what do you need to know about your sinfulness?
Do you feel like you have an unbroken relationship with God?

If Jesus can do this (heal a paralyzed man, or more importantly forgive sins), what does it say about how we relate to him?
If he can do this, do we obey what he ask of us?

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