Blessing and Despair
Jesus Lifts Out of Despair
In the life of Jesus, there are many examples of our Savior's personal touch in the interactions with the people he would meet. One of those instances occurs in the book of Mark in chapter two. Jesus' ability to do miraculous signs along with a very different and powerful way of teaching drew people unto Him. In this particular instance, Jesus is in a house, and the crowd is so big they have filled the home and surrounded that home. A group of men had brought a man, a paralytic man, to him but could not reach him due to the large crowd at the location. Their solution, they climb on the roof, removed the roofing material, and lowered him into Jesus.
Something needs to be said about these men's faith and determination to get their friend to Jesus for healing. These men should not only be praised for their actions but should stand as a reminder to us that we should be willing to do whatever it takes to bring the sick before Jesus, especially the spiritually sick. That said, our main focus in this essay is on Jesus and what He does in this situation.
Jesus will take this opportunity to teach the significance of His power, not merely His power to heal the physical body, but more importantly, His ability to forgive sin. That is His primary teaching on this occasion. The result of this primary teaching of Jesus and the decisive act of faith by these men is the crowd's astonishment. The crowd was blessed by being able to witness this whole scene unfold. They were now able to contemplate who Jesus was and the ability He had to bless lives. Now the man and those in the crowd could all say from despair to blessing as the old hymn goes, "He lifted me!"
We need to linger on this picture for a bit. For most of us, we probably pass too quickly over the reality of this story in the actual life of the man healed. We see that Jesus heals a man and may think, "that's cool," or maybe we comment to ourselves, "that's just what Jesus does," and move on. But this man's whole life was utterly changed. In a moment, this man went from a bed he could not leave to a world in which he could move and be. It was not just a newness of legs, but rather a newness of life all brought about by the blessing of Jesus.
A Parallel For Our Lives
As much as Jesus lifted the paralytic man out of despair and out of physical paralysis, a blessing can move us out of emotional paralysis. Often, we do not fully and freely live as God would have us to live because of past emotional pains. We are often emotionally captive to the lack of blessing in our homes or the presence of despair or failure in our life. These are certainly terrible occurrences, but God provides hope. Jesus the Christ who died has lifted us up out of our sins and out of the bondage of brokenness this world has drawn us into. We can "walk in newness of life," (Roman 6:4) by and through the blessing of Jesus. This is good news and is the ultimate answer to the curse and blessing scenario. God's blessing in Jesus is more extensive than any curse in this world and can lift us out of it. Jesus told the paralytic man to rise and walk, and likewise, he tells us to arise and live.
As we arrive at the realization that God lifts us out of our despair and brokenness, we begin to see His call in our life to lift others out of the same. As for myself, I have come to realize that I can bless and make a positive difference in others around me, and you can also. It is not always about the big things that we sometimes equate with making a difference. How many times have we not done anything because we thought only a big thing would do? The small things are sometimes the things that make the most significant impact in the long run. The kind word, the time is given, a small deed done can bring many blessings to someone in their life.
I use to challenge my church family to the "challenge of two." We were to tell at least two people, two good things about God, his earthly family, or the blessings he has bestowed upon us. We would do this every week. At first, it may seem like such a small measure, but if 100 people do this in a week, 200 people will hear praises unto God. If we could do that little thing every week, then 10,400 messages of praise will be extended in a year. Just a small effort can add up to a significant impact over time. I want to do this with people's lives. I want to help them to see goodness and ultimately to see Jesus. If I see the grandness of doing it I probably won't act, but if I can break it down into small steps, I can create a culture in my life of blessing. So this is my challenge not only to myself but to you reading this as well. May we tell two people about their value this week. Remind them of how special, unique, blessed they indeed are. Tell them what they mean to our lives and tell them what they mean to Jesus. If we did that every week, we would quickly find ourselves living out a culture of speaking blessing into others' lives.
Let us make sure we share that meaningful, appropriate touch with our words. A meaningful handshake, a hug, a hand on the shoulder, just to let those around know we are here not only for them but with them.