Take Up Your Mat!

This morning I was all set to write a post about the contrasts between Psalms 10 and 11, but that is going to have to wait.  I am compelled to share a short post on a great experience Mindy and Brenna and I shared this weekend at the chapel in Tarpon Spring, FL.

During this time of preparation to plant a new church, I am afforded the opportunity to visit area churches and get fed.  This past Sunday we had a little feast on the story of the paralytic and the faith of his friends.  A great message by @MarkQuattrochi that you can listen to here (if the link changes, its the 2nd message in the “Fuzzy” series).

I won’t rehash what Pastor Q gave us in his message.  I encourage you to listen to the Spirit speaking through him.

As I was sitting listening to this message on a passage I’ve read hundreds of time, the Holy Spirit started imparting a new (at least for me) insight into this scripture.  The whole story takes place in Mark 2:1-12, but I am only including the verses here that are relevant to this post.  As always, I encourage you to read on you own and let the Holy Spirit give you fresh insights too!

Mark 2:10-12:
10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—he said to the paralytic—11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your stretcher, and go to your home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up his stretcher and went out in front of them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Mk 2:10–12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

I said this would be a short post, so I will get straight to the point.

The insight I was given was this:

Jesus told the man to pick up his mat (stretcher, bed, palette…) and go home.  Here was a man that for, at least, a portion of his life had been paralyzed and had no means of mobility on his own.  He didn’t have an electric wheelchair or  scooter that he could control with his mouth.  He had a stretcher that he had no control over.  He was completely reliant on other people, friends, to give him mobility.  He was completely dependent on that stretcher.  In many ways, that stretcher was in control.

Enter four friends digging their way through a roof to get to a Man who could heal their friend (again, go listen to Pastor Q’s message).  When he was lowered down he was told his sins are forgiven (again, Pastor Q).  But then, this Man who tells him his sins are forgiven pauses and starts talking to those in the crown.  When He  is finished talking to them, He turns back to the paralytic and tells him to pick up his stretcher and go home.   The Word says that “immediately” he picked up the stretcher and walked out in front of everyone.

That thing that had control over his life, that determined where he went and what he did, was no longer in control.  He was!  He picked up and carried that thing that had control over his life.  He carried it out in front of everyone.  He now had control over the thing that for so long controlled him – credit where credit is due – by Jesus’ healing power through His response to the faith or four friends.

Your sins are forgiven!  Take up your stretcher and show everyone what Jesus can do for them too!

What has control in your life today from which you need immediate  relief?  Jesus has the power to tell you “control it!”  And, if you don’t have the faith, find a couple friends who will have the faith for you.  Jesus will honor whatever faith you and/or your fiends have!

About Todd Bowman

I am a child of God, a husband to Mindy, a father of seven beautiful children of God, a student of the grace of God in Christ, a worshiper, a teacher, a musician and singer, a writer, a nerd, a geek, and a general advocate of mercy and service.
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