Hold the Rope
And again He entered Capernaum, (generally accepted as His home base of operations) and it was heard, (the KJ says “noised” I like that term a little better because to me it speaks that there was a buzz around town, “ Jesus is here!”)
I was at S.I.T. in Minnesota since last Sunday, but I heard there was a little buzz around Green Bay this week. Well that was what was going on with Jesus there was a buzz going around Capernaum Rumor had it that he was at Peter’s house. Rumor had it that Brett Favre was in town!
“And straightway (immediately) people flocked to the house. They filled the house and spilled out into the yard. They were peeking in the windows. Pressed up against the door. It was a mob scene. No way were you going to get inside this building to hear or see Jesus.
Suddenly these guys pull up in a Handi- Cab van, and open up the back doors and haul a man out on a stretcher. Okay, you might be able to push yourselves through the crowd one at a time, but you’re not going to be able to get through this crowd with a guy on a stretcher.
Who are these guys anyway? Friends? Relatives? We aren’t told. We only know that there were four of them. They certainly are not of the bloodline of Eeyor are they? “Oh well, I guess we missed our opportunity” No! They race back to the van and pull out some ropes and .............the electric saw!
Grunting and groaning they manage to get the stretcher on the roof and they find an outlet and begin to cut through the roof........
Now, before this interruption, Jesus is preaching the word to those who had responded to the buzz. What word? Good question. Look back to 1:15 and you get a glimpse at the basic sermon outline that Jesus used.
A. Ga 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
1. 1Pe 1:10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
The time has come for the promised Messiah. The One whom God promised to Eve who would be bruised by Satan, but who in turn would crush Satan.
The Kingdom of God is at Hand
A. Heaven is here.....now.
1. Isa 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (God with us)
2. Love is here, love is now
How do you receive heaven?
1. Eze 18:30 "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
B. Believe the Gospel.
1. Ro 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
What would such words mean to His audience of Jews? The Jews associated repentance with turning from their wicked , self-centered ways, and looking to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for their salvation. It was a turning away from their ways and following after God and His ways. Acceptance means to return to following God.
The call to repentance is the same for you and I today! Turn from your transgressions, your sins, lest they be your ruin! But mere repentance isn't enough, we must also believe the Gospel.
The what? The gospel! The Good News! WHAT IS THIS Good News? It’s the same Good News that John the Baptist preached. He too preached the necessity of repentance and followed it by pointing to Jesus and proclaiming, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
And so the message is the same. Repent and believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who paid the price for all the sins of the world
So this is the gist of His message and suddenly it’s interrupted by the sound of a sabre saw. Insulation and sawdust is filtering down from the ceiling , Light breaks through and a completely paralyzed man is lowered through the hole in the ceiling and brought to the feet of Jesus.
Don't miss the phrase in v4, , “and when they had broken through....” That phrase speaks of persevering prayer. It was their perseverance that enabled them to have the breakthrough for their paralyzed friend. People we need to learn the power of persevering prayer in our own lives.
Too often we pray like Eeyore, we give it a one time half-hearted shot and if it doesn't come to pass according to our will, we give up, and we miss the blessing that could’ve been ours through persevering, pestering prayer. I think you would be amazed at the number of times this principle is used in Scripture as it regards praying.
Jesus encouraged this kind of praying when He said, Lu 18:1, “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” “What is asking, seeking, and knocking if not determined prayer. E.M. Bounds in his book “Prayer” says, “He prays not at all who does not press his plea.” and “heaven has harkening ears only for the wholehearted.” These men wholeheartedly attacked that roof and pressed their plea!
V5 - When Jesus saw their faith.........think about that. Did Jesus look into their hearts and see their faith......undoubtedly, but they left other evidence of their faith before Him in the form of sawdust and insulation. He saw their determination as faith, and immediately granted over and above what they desired.
They came seeking physical healing and got both spiritual and physical healing.
The sawdust and insulation was proof of their faith. They knew Jesus was their only hope and they were determined to break through to Him on behalf of their paralyzed friend or relative. .
And He said to the paralytic.......”Son, your sins are forgiven!” Oh my! What did He call him? Son! A child of God. Immediate sonship granted as his sins were washed away.
When you repent and believe the Gospel, your sins are forgiven and you are granted
But some scribes, (religious gnat strainers) started reasoning in their hearts, “This is blasphemy who but God can forgive sins!” Bingo! Who but God! Emmanuel, God with us, God with you in this very room!
And we see that Jesus not only sees belief in the hearts of men but He also sees unbelief.
And He immediately tries to bring them to belief by working this miracle before their very eyes. And He asks, “Which is easier to say to the paralytic , Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise take up your bed and walk.” But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins, and He orders the paralytic to get up and carry his stretcher to his house and he does!
And so we see the heart of Jesus as He bends over backward to give these scribes an opportunity to believe and enter the kingdom, but we are not told if they ever did.
What can we learn from this account? First of all, know that Jesus yearns for people to come to saving faith in Him. He yearns to call you son....daughter.......through faith in Him. He has a heart for the lost. You know those people you are praying for, well Jesus wants them to be saved even more than you so keep praying! Be determined!
Keep lifting them up to Jesus with the rope of prayer.
The paralytic represents the unbeliever who is paralyzed by his sin of disbelief. How will people be saved without you persevering in determined prayer? They are paralyzed with a lack of faith, immobilized by their sin, they are utterly helpless to save themselves.
Ps 10:4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
But with your persevering, pestering prayers, you release the hounds of heaven after their soul. You put them on the scent because it is your deepest desire that they be found. And the hounds of heaven are barking and yelping, eager to get to the chase, yet no one is bringing their cause before the Lord.
And we look at the unsaved around us and we say, I wish they would get saved. Then persevere in bringing them to the only One who can save them. Bring them to Jesus!
Don’t give up! Keep praying! God wants to see your persevering faith, He is pleased to be conquered by your determined prayers.
What a week at S.I.T. Some pretty boring, but necessary classes as is the case at all seminaries, but also many precious moments when God spoke to our hearts. I have finally realized that my first calling here at Living Word is to the role of a missionary and my secondary calling is that of a pastor.
We need to start looking at this church as we would look at a mission in the most remote part of Africa. There is darkness all around us. People need the Lord right here in Menasha, and it starts with persevering determined prayer on our part. Let's hold the rope, so that others may climb out of the abyss and into the kingdom of God.