Tag Archives: miracles

Amazed (or Mark 2, part 2)

Yesterday I posted some thoughts from Mark 2:1-12, but I really only made it through part of the story. So here are a couple of thoughts on the rest of the story. Let me know what you think about the passage.

Mark 2:1-12

New Living Translation (NLT)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

I’ve been thinking about this story in two parts. First, the friends and what they did to get the paralyzed man in front of Jesus. Second, I’m not sure Jesus’ response was what the guys were expecting.

It is pretty awesome to me that it is the faith of the friends that moves Jesus to respond. But I have been wondering if his first response was what the guys expected. At this point in the story, people have heard about Jesus healing people with incurable illnesses. So that makes me think the four guys were taking their friend to Jesus so he would heal him. But that was not Jesus’ first response. Did you read what Jesus said?

“My child, your sins are forgiven.”

It surprised people! I think it may have even surprised the four guys on the roof looking down. But here is what I think is significant about that.

Jesus knew what the guy really needed.

Even if his friends did not know the depth of the man’s need, Jesus knew and Jesus went straight to it. He went above and beyond their expectations. He takes care of the real issue (forgiveness of sin), and then Jesus turns back around and heals him physically too. People can’t believe it. They were amazed. I think the four friends had to be amazed as well!

So here is what this part of the story says to me:

Sometimes I don’t know what is needed, but Jesus does. And Jesus will do what only he can- if I will just go to him.

What about you- what does it say to you?

Before the Miracle

One of my good friends had this statement on his status the other day, “Every miracle from God begins with an impossible situation!”

I have been thinking about that for a few days now. It is one of those thoughts that when I hear it (or read it) expressed, I think, “Oh, of course. That makes sense.” But then it causes me to pause. The statement makes sense to me- every time I read about Jesus performing some miracle in the New Testament, it’s because someone was in an impossible situation. Doctors could not help, science could not explain, people could not reconcile… then Jesus stepped in. A miracle was the only solution.

But what this statement has been causing me to really think about the last few days is the time before the miracles. I thought about the guy at the healing pool- in John 5. The guy was an invalid for 38 years. That’s a long time. For 38 years, his situation was impossible. I was also thinking about the poor blind guy in John 9. The poor guy was born blind. He spent his whole life in an impossible situation. Then there’s poor Lazarus. The guy had to literally die before a miracle happened. Talk about impossible.

But if you are anything like me, you’re thinking at this point, “Well, those are nice stories. But miracles don’t really happen anymore. Impossible situations, yes; miracles, maybe not so much.”

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I got a message about a young guy I’ve known for a few years. He was in the hospital waiting for a serious brain surgery. The doctors had discovered bleeding around his brain and needed to take care of it. But they were concerned about his coming out of the surgery without being paralyzed, or with his eyesight, or even alive… It was very scary for him and his family. The surgery happened, everything went really well, and at the end of it, the doctors and family talked about the smoothness of the surgery being a miracle. He’s expected to make a full recovery. But the waiting before… not what anyone wanted to go through. It felt like life was impossible.

Another friend of mine shared this on August 27th, “We’ve not received any answers yet on my brother’s vision. They’re doing an MRI this morning to explore some possibilities. Please keep him [and his family] in your prayers. This is a frightening time. As of right now, he’s experiencing complete blindness.” A couple of days later, this was the report, “Latest info: still no vision and now is heart rate has dropped to 43.” Then just a few hours later, this is posted, “God gives sight to the blind! I just talked to my brother who called to tell me that while some friends of his were praying with him this morning, and while he was listening to the song “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (He gives and takes away), God touched his eyes and restored his sight… Do not be afraid, I AM is with you!” One moment there is no sight, the next, the guy can see. It seemed impossible…

Now, I haven’t got a clue why God seems to do miracles in some situations and not others. Honestly, it frustrates me to not know why. But I also have to admit something. I’m not sure I always expect God to show up in impossible situations. Too often, I’m more overwhelmed by the situation than expecting God to do something. So maybe packed in that little statement is more of a challenge on how to view my impossible situations. Maybe there is something to learn during the impossible part that makes the miracle part that much more significant. I don’t really know. I don’t have an answer about it all… But here is what I do know and what I need to return to no matter what:

God is still God of the impossible situation.

Holy Week: Monday

We have reached Holy Week! The events and readings of this week are to help us reflect and remember all that happened to Jesus leading to his death and resurrection. So for the rest of the week, I will be posting readings from the book of John.

I hope your experiences this week help you to know and encounter the power of God’s love and the hope of the resurrection.

John 12:12-36

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.


Amazing Things Are Happening

Today’s Engage passage is from Luke 9:1-36.

What stands out to you from this passage? What is new to you? What do you think Jesus wants you to learn from this passage?

Talk with someone about your thoughts. It may be your family who you talk with or it may be that you need to find a friend to talk with about the passage. Sharing our insight and listening to others is part of engaging scripture.