Faith That Is Seen
Mark 2:5, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Faith can be seen. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:8, faith is like the wind. Faith itself is invisible, but saving faith is always accompanied by corresponding actions which can be seen…James 2:17–26.
It was not only the faith of the paralytic that Jesus saw, but also that of his four friends… Mark 2:3. This demonstrates the effect our intercession in faith can have upon others. Jesus saw their faith. However, although our faith released on behalf of others is powerful, it is not a substitute for their faith. It is simply a help. The person who is to receive the miracle must have some degree of faith, also. Even Jesus could not produce healing in those who would not believe … Mark 6:5-6. In this instance, it is evident that the paralytic himself also had faith because he was not resistant to the four who brought him; and he got up and obeyed Jesus’ command (Verse 7) without having to be helped.
Why did Jesus minister forgiveness of sins to this man instead of meeting the obvious need he had of healing? God is more concerned with the spiritual health of a man than his physical health. Or, Jesus, through a word of knowledge, may have perceived that the real heart-cry of this man was to be reconciled to God. In some instances (not all)… John. 9:2-3, sickness was a direct result of sin. Therefore, Jesus would be dealing with the very root of the paralysis. Whether or not this man’s paralysis was a direct result of sin, sin in our life (that has not been forgiven) will allow Satan to keep us in his bondage. Through Jesus’ act of forgiving this man’s sins, the paralytic was free to receive all the blessings of God, which certainly included healing.
The point Jesus is making is that both forgiveness of sins and the healing of the paralytic are humanly impossible. If Jesus could do one of these things, He could do the other. He then healed the paralytic showing that He did, indeed, have the authority to forgive sins. In Jesus’ day, the people were more inclined to accept His willingness to heal than they were to accept His forgiveness of sins without the keeping of the law. Today, the church world basically accepts forgiveness of sins, but doubts His willingness to heal. They were never meant to be separated. Believe and receive all God has for you today.
Touched By Love
Mark 1:41, “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean”
Only Mark records this important statement that Jesus was “moved with compassion” in the healing of this leper. There are three other instances in the gospels when Jesus was moved with compassion which resulted in healing… Matthew 14:14; 20:34; Luke 7:13; and once in deliverance… Mark 5:19. The difference between seeing a person healed or not healed many times is this all-important ingredient of love.
All three of the Gospel accounts record Jesus touching this leper. This not only illustrates the doctrine of “laying on of hands”, but was probably included because according to Numbers 19:22, this action would have made Jesus unclean. This illustrates the New Testament ministry of the Spirit versus the Old Testament ministry of the letter of the law… 2 Corinthians 3:6.
Jesus did not have to avoid the ceremonial uncleanness that would come from physical contact with a leper because He came to bear our sins in His own body. As can be seen from Mark’s account, two things happened: (1) the leprosy departed and (2) the man was cleansed. Jesus not only removed the disease but restored the damaged parts of his body. This leper was healed as soon as Jesus spoke.
The Word of God is the will of God, and it reveals that it is always God’s will to heal. Jesus often healed people by touching them, and others received their healing as they touched Jesus. You can transmit the power or the anointing of God through the laying on of hands. Let Him use you today to touch others.
A Lifestyle Check
Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
The way that you can tell whether a person is genuine or not is by the fruit they produce. This fruit is speaking of lifestyle. Jesus made the point that you don’t get bad fruit from a good tree, and you don’t get good fruit from a bad tree. Many people say one thing, but their actions speak so loudly that you really can’t hear what they are saying. If you are in doubt about whether a person is genuine or not, or whether you should receive from them and follow their teaching, look at the fruit they are producing.
In evaluating ministers and ministries, more attention should be given to the fruit that is being produced. Failure to do this could lead someone to reject and even discredit a minister who simply makes a mistake or is wrong in one area. Every minister has shortcomings, just as every other member of the Body of Christ does. But that doesn’t mean his ministry is bad. Look at the fruit.
Fruit is the true test of ministers and ministries. If people are being saved, if lives are being changed, there is good fruit. Even though the minister may say something bad and make mistakes, the fruit is good.
Therefore, you can say that the tree is good. When a person says all of the right things and may seem sincere, but you see the lives of people around them shattered and torn, and in confusion and distress, then the fruit is bad. You can judge the effectiveness of a person by the fruit that they are producing in their life. In ministry you can judge the effectiveness of a minister by the fruit that his ministry is producing.
Today, make sure that the fruit that comes from your life is positive. Make sure that you are making a positive impact on people’s lives, that you are turning people to the Lord and not leaving them hurt and confused. People are looking at you to see what type of fruit you are bearing.
Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
Some of the most effective prayers are the shortest prayers. Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and the wind and the waves ceased … Mark 4:39. He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and Lazarus came back from the dead… John 11:43–44.
Today, there is a new emphasis on the quantity of prayer instead of the quality of prayer. Jesus never advocated long prayers, and there are only a few instances where Jesus prayed long prayers. This is not to say that communion with God is not important. It certainly is, but formal prayer is only one part of our communion with the Lord.
Psalm 5:1-2 uses the words “pray” and “meditation” interchangeably. Therefore, communing with God through keeping your mind stayed on the things of the Lord is also prayer. There are also times in prayer when we need to be still and know that God is God…Psalm 46:10.
Many times we ask the Lord to speak to us, but He can’t get a word in “edge-wise.” We’re doing all the talking.
What’s Your Motivation
Matthew 6:1, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
The motive behind our gift is more important than the gift itself. Paul said if he gave all of his goods to feed the poor, or if he made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his own life for someone else, and wasn’t motivated by love, his gift would profit him nothing…1 Corinthians 13:3.
Many Christians give faithfully but never see the hundredfold return that the Lord promised because of wrong motives… Mark 10:29-30. Paul said God loves a cheerful giver – not one who gives grudgingly or out of debt… 2 Corinthians 9:7.
Jesus gave us the key to purifying our motives in this same teaching. He said, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth”… Matthew 6:3. Giving in a manner in which you will not receive recognition for your gifts will guarantee that your motives are right and grant you the true joy that comes through selfless giving… Acts 20:24.
Ask the Lord to show you an opportunity today to give a kind word or a helping hand to someone who will not be able to repay you and others will never know about it. This could be a motorist in a traffic jam, a co-worker, a spouse, a child who won’t even notice your kind deed, or any number of other people. Opportunities are all around us.
The Best Defense
Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Which would you rather have – God defending you, or you defending yourself? That’s the choice that Jesus is offering us here. “Turning the other cheek” is not a prescription for abuse but rather the way to get the Lord involved in your defense.
Many people feel that these instructions of Jesus guarantee that others will take advantage of us. That would be true if there was no God. But when we follow these commands of Jesus, the Lord is on our side. He said in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
When we fight back, we are drawing on our own strength. But when we turn the other cheek, we are invoking God as our defense. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that these instructions are for our own good.
James 1:20 says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.
When we defend ourselves, we stop God from defending us. It has to be one way or the other. It cannot be both ways. When we turn the other cheek to our enemies, we are loosing the power of God on our behalf. Let God defend you today.
Drawn By His Power
Mark 1:37, “And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.”
This is an amazing statement. Jesus’ ministry was only a few months old and the masses of people were already seeking him out.
This is even more astonishing when you realize that Jesus had not used any of the conventional methods of publicity. In fact, Jesus had already rejected publicity during His first ministry in Jerusalem… John 2:24-25. There was no natural explanation for Jesus’ success.
God is the one who promoted Jesus. And He used supernatural means to do it. It was not the slick techniques of Madison Avenue that brought the crowds–it was the awesome manifestation of God’s power.
Just the day before, Jesus had cast the demon out of a man at the synagogue in Capernaum… Mark 1:21-28. This caused the whole city to gather at Peter’s house and Jesus healed every one of them… Luke 4:40.
Jesus’ display of the miraculous power of God was the spark that the Holy Spirit used to light a fire in the hearts of these people. Jesus had this power because of His intimate relationship with His father. It is no accident that He was praying while all men were seeking Him.
As you seek to touch others with the new life that you’ve found in Christ, let God confirm His Word with the miraculous manifestations of His power through you.
Ministry In Action
Mk. 1:31, “And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”
How did Peter’s mother-in-law minister unto Jesus and His disciples? Did she sit them down and preach to them? Certainly not. Yet sometimes people think the only way we can minister to another is to admonish them with the scriptures.
Peter’s mother-in-law apparently ministered to them by serving them. The word translated “minister” is the same word that was translated “deacon” twice in the New Testament, and “serve, served or serveth” eight times.
We can minister for the Lord by doing some of the menial tasks that many consider to be unimportant. Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in His name would not go unrewarded… Matthew 10:42.
Many people are waiting for the important jobs to come along where they can make a big impact or receive a lot of recognition, while they pass by many lesser opportunities every day. But in the kingdom of God, we won’t be given any great opportunities until we are proven faithful in the small things… Luke 16:10.
Today, ask the Lord to show you ways you can minister to others by serving them.
Knowing Who You Are
Matthew 4:3, “And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
Two of Satan’s three temptations began with the words, “If you be the Son of God.”
Jesus was God, but he did have a human body that had to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God…John. 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 2:52. It took faith for the physical mind of Jesus to believe the witness of the Spirit within Him that he was the Messiah. Satan was attacking the most basic of His beliefs. This must have been a temptation to Jesus or Satan would not have used it.
Satan is very subtle in his temptations. It may have looked like he was trying to get Jesus to perform a miracle, but he was actually trying to make Jesus waiver in His faith of who He was. He tried to get Jesus to draw on the supernatural power of God to confirm it to the devil and Himself.
Unlike Jesus, we sometimes fall for this trick of the devil. We may say that we are arguing for some truth of the gospel, but many times we are hoping to convince ourselves. Someone who really knows who they are and what they believe, doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone.
Isaiah 30:15 says, “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:…” Let the Lord build your confidence in who you are in Christ.