Friday, May 15, 2015

Greater Works

Mark 2:
1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. 2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

Jesus came to forgive sins, not to heal the sick, blind, leperous and bed-ridden. He came to give us life abundant, not to raise the dead or walk on water. Those miracles by Jesus were by-products of the greater need man faced in His time, and that man faces today. The whole reason for conducting such miracles was to show man the power of the faith of a repentent heart. Jesus said that when He returned to the Father, we would do miracles greater even than the ones that we saw Him do.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

This does not mean that we will all be able to heal the sick, make the blind to see, bring the physically dead back to life, or walk on water. I don't know about you, but I haven't met a man yet who could walk on water.

Though there are those in the New Testament that have done all the other miracles, and even in more present times we have heard of those who heal the sick and raise the dead, those miracles were not the "greater works" that He was talking about. And, as in the story of the man who was on his bed and lowered down to Jesus for healing, Jesus made the point that his physical condition was not the problem that we should be focused on.

"Your sins are forgiven," Jesus said. It was the first words out of his mouth upon seeing the man.

What greater gift from God could anyone want? In eternity with the Father, if the man never walked on the earth, that should have been enough. In eternity, the man would be leaping for all time in praise and worship. All he needed was for his sins to be forgiven.

Of course, this did not sit well with those around Him. They expected Jesus to heal the man of his physical condition. Those pesky Scribes and Pharisees chided Him in their hearts, taking offense that He had presumed upon Himself to do this. After all, who was HE to forgive sins?

Jesus knew what they were thinking and He asked them, "What would be easier to do? Forgive the man's sin or tell him to get up and walk?" After all, Jesus was there to show US how WE are to act. He was there to set the example. Only God can heal the lame. And, though He was God in the flesh, He was only here to show us the power He had given us as mere humans under God's will. But, in His divine mercy, He explained, "But, so you know that the son of man has power on earth to forgive sins," then He turned to the paralytic and said, "Arise, take up your bed, and go home."

This was still lost on the Scribes and Pharisees. What Jesus was saying to them was, "I am God. I can heal this man for the rest of his life here on earth. But, as a human being, I have the same power YOU have been given in My Name. I can forgive the man's sin. Then, he will be healed for all eternity. What is greater? Which is easier? Why do you want to make something hard out of something simple?"

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

The whole message was lost to those who did not want to see it. Jesus told the disciples that they would be able to do greater works than those He had done while He was with them. Jesus healed people temporarily. He brought people back to life just so they could die again. I don't recall ever hearing that Lazarus was still alive today. But, that man who took up his bed and walked home was forgiven forever.

How many things in our lives handicap us on a daily basis because we refuse to have faith that everything will work out for the best? There are so many things that hold people back from reaching their true potential for God. The main handicap we all face is fear of the unknown (i.e. "I might lose my job," or "I might lose my disability check," or "I don't think I'd be a good supervisor," and -- this one always gets me -- "I don't want the responsibility." Okay, keep suffering from poverty. Keep struggling. Keep begging for hand-outs. You just had a hand-up and refused it. How much stress is that going to cause you later?).

When Jesus walked on water, it was Peter's FEAR that caused him to sink. The opposite of FEAR is FAITH, not courage. I bet Peter was saying to himself, "I don't have the courage to walk on water. But, I know what I see HIM doing! So, I'm stepping out...Wow, I'm doing it! Oh, no, I'm sinking! Master, help me! I have faith that YOU can help me!" And, Jesus did. But, what if He didn't? What if Peter started walking on the water and made his way to Jesus out there on that stormy sea? What would Jesus have said? I believe He would have said, "Faith as small as a grain of mustard can move mountains, or calm the sea. Your Faith will enable you to do much more than this one day!"

Today, when someone tells me I can't, I simply smile because I have faith that I can. And, usually, I do. When someone doubts my ability, I show them that their lack of confidence in me doesn't effect the faith I have in my God to sustain and uphold me, and pull me forward. When I don't have something I want, other's may be skeptical that I will be able to acquire it, but all I have to do is ask God for it, and (if it's something God can use through me) -- in time -- it's there.

Jesus said we would do greater works than the miracles He did. What greater work is there than giving others forgiveness so that they will be able to see the Glory of God through their testimony?

Jesus said that if I forgive others of their sins against me, God will forgive me. Jesus showed us in the story of the paralytic, as "little" gods here on earth, (Jesus said, "know ye not that ye are gods?") we have the power to forgive others here on earth. When we are forgiven, we are set free from the chains of sin that keep us from the perfect gift of freedom from God. We no longer have the weight of sin holding us down that keeps us from moving forward and making our lives better. So, when we forgive others, we are essentially lifting that weight from our friends or neighbors. We are giving them the freedom to move forward, without dragging the guilt behind them where-ever they go that ends up in front of them as a stumbling block sometimes, tripping them up. And, in forgiving others, we find that a weight is lifted off of our own shoulders, and we receive the freedom that we are seeking to give another.

And sometimes, in so doing, we create a testimony that draws others to the God we serve.

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
(For a better explanation of this verse, Click HERE)

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