Tear the Roof Off

I've been reading out of the gospel of Mark this week, and I'm constantly amazed at the new things the Holy Spirit reveals to me when I reread passages in scripture that I've read hundreds of times. In Mark 2, we read about Jesus healing a paralytic. What has always stood out to me in this passage is Jesus' compassion, power, and influence. However, I've been encouraged in a different way in reading the passage once again this past week.

Jesus returns home from a period of preaching and teaching all throughout Galilee. Along the way, He's cleansed lepers, healed people, and commanded demons to come out of possessed individuals. Jesus was one of the hottest tickets in town. Everybody wanted to see Him. Everybody wanted to hear Him. The scripture says that Jesus was in His home, and people gathered there to hear Him preach. It was so crowded that they literally could not fit any more people in the house. People were trying to listen from outside. Basically, imagine a concert crowd trying to fit into your living room. There were probably about 50 people in the house, but multitudes of people on the outside, just trying to get a glimpse of this man, Jesus Christ.

What stands out to me the most are the 4 men carrying the paralytic. Even though the house was crowded and packed, they still were determined to see Jesus. They were so determined that they went on the roof and tore part of it off! They lowered their paralyzed friend in the opening, so that he could be seen by Jesus. The scripture says that Jesus, "saw their faith". He saw the faith of the 4 men and possibly that of the paralytic too. Jesus not only forgave the paralytic of His sins, He healed Him and told Him to "rise, take up your bed and walk". The paralytic walked out of that house, completely changed and healed.

These 4 men stand out to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, what great love they obviously had for their friend. Despite all the trouble it probably was to find Jesus, fight the crowd, and basically crash the party by tearing off the roof, they did it because they wanted their friend to see Jesus. Secondly, their determination was impeccable. Their pursuit of Christ is an inspiration. Nothing was going to stop them from seeing Jesus. What caused that determination? It was their faith. They were certain that Christ was going to do something amazing, and He did! Without faith, they would have easily been detered and walked away.

God has been pounding my walk and faith recently, in a good way! The Holy Spirit has been shattering my worldview, and opening my eyes to some real truth. In that, I've struggled with making sure that everything I do in my life, from ministry, to family, to relationships, and decision making is truly God-honoring and reflective of a man truly after God's own heart. This passage in Mark 2, speaks volumes. I often wonder why its so hard to reclaim a passion, zeal, and excitement for Christ in the church today. I know the answers to that question, but I often frustrate myself in forgetting or overlooking them. The reason why churches are dying, especially in America (don't be naive in thinking they're not) is because there's a lack of love for God and people, there's not a real faith in who God says He is, and thus, there's no determination for Him. Oh, there's determination, but we're determined about the wrong things and for the wrong reasons.

Simply put, a passion for Christ comes from a pursuit of Christ. I've waited in lines for big movies on their opening night, and seen people get turned away because they were sold out. I've been to sold-out professional sporting events. I've been to concerts, where people shoved their way to get in the door. I've even dealt with people on Black Friday, seeing them run down aisles after toys and clothes. We've all experienced passion. Whether its passion for sports, shopping, music, movies, food, or money, we've seen it. Mark 2, shows us passion. I'm not saying that every person pursuing Christ in that scripture, were pursuing Him for the right reasons. Many times people pursue Christ because of selfish reasons. However, I'm convinced when we have a real faith in the Christ of scripture, our pursuit becomes one road, the one that leads to Him. That real faith gives us a real determination and passion for Christ, which leads to a real love for God and His people. The majority of churches are dry, dying, and flustering because the determination and passion of the people are in thousands of directions. It makes sense. How can a crowd of people be excited, vibrant, and seem alive in Christ, if all of their focuses are on other pursuits? We're trying so hard to fix churches and the faith with politics, methods and strategies, and people. The enemy laughs at our stupidity. Those are all pursuits other than Christ.

If you love Christ and He is your passion, keep up your pursuit. Let His love overflow! Fixate on Him! Don't let anything get in the way. Stay determined. And when the times come, tear the freaking roof off!