This is our fifth week in our church-wide series Unbinding Your Heart, a series about opening our hearts to God and allowing God to use us to share God’s love with the world.
We discussed Mark 2:1-12, a story about four people who go to extraordinary lengths to bring their friend to Christ. These four friends carry their friend who is paralyzed on a mat through the town, they push through the people crowding outside of Jesus’ home, and they try to get in the house only to find it is packed like sardines in there. So, they decide to climb a ladder to the roof, dig a hole through the roof, and lower their friend down through the hole all the way to Jesus’ feet. Jesus, instead of being angry or annoyed that they just tore a hole in his roof, is impressed by the faith of the man’s friends, and he heals the man on the spot.
These four friends knew what this man needed, and they wouldn’t stop pushing until he lay at Jesus’ feet. They loved and cared about him enough to carry him to Christ. Have you ever been that desperate to introduce someone to Christ? These friends likely had a lot of internal barriers inside of them telling them not to do this. They might have thought “it’s not my business” or that he was being punished for sin (a common belief in that time period) or doubted that Jesus had the time to heal the man. There also were several external barriers preventing them from getting to Christ- the sheer amount of people in the yard and in the home, climbing the ladder, digging through the roof, lowering him down through the roof. Yet, none of these internal or external barriers kept these friends from bringing the man to Christ. The man’s need for Jesus outweighed the internal barriers. What are the internal barriers that keep you from sharing Christ with others? What are the external barriers in our church that keep us from sharing Christ’s love with others?
We have all had people carry us to Jesus, no one comes to Jesus entirely on their own, but through the loving guidance and care of others sharing Christ’s love with them. If we are Christian, we have experienced the healing touch of Christ that heals our wounds and makes us new. As we were carried to Jesus, we are called to carry others to Jesus too. We live in a society that is filled with people who need to know that people care enough about them to carry them to Jesus. Who is God calling you to carry to Christ? Some of these people may be in our workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods that have never heard of Christ’s love. Some of the people might be right inside our own church. They may be our children or youth who need a mentor to guide them closer to Jesus. Some of them may be people who have drifted away from our church and need someone to reach out to them. Some of them may be guests in our church that need people to show radical hospitality to them. Let’s not be like the bystanders in the crowd or the legal experts grumbling in the story. Let’s be the mat carriers to Christ.
At the very end of the story, the man gets up, picks up his mat, and walks out of the house. The man who was carried in on a mat experienced the healing touch of Jesus, and he carries the mat out, ready to carry someone else to Christ. Let’s all pick up our mats and carry someone to Jesus.
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
- What are the internal barriers that keep you from sharing Christ with others? What are the external barriers in our church that keep us from sharing Christ’s love with others?
- Who is God calling you to carry to Christ?
- Monday- John 14:16-26, Unbinding Your Heart pg. 155
- Tuesday- Psalm 127:1-2, Proverbs 3:5-6, Unbinding Your Heart pg. 156
- Wednesday- Psalm 122:6-9, John 14:25-27, Unbinding Your Heart pg. 157
- Thursday- Luke 24:13-52, Unbinding Your Heart pg. 158
- Friday- Matthew 28:16-20, Unbinding Your Heart pg. 159