Faithlife Sermons

The Eyes of The Master Know No Limit-Mark 2:1-12

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Last Sunday morning in our journey through the Gospel according to Mark, our passage was Mark 1: 40-45in the message titled: Trading Places With A Leper- Leprosy And Sin . As we studied the passage together, we discovered that while Mark focuses more on the actions of Jesus than it does on the teaching of Jesus, that each miraculous act taught us valuable lessons. For instance;
His healing of the blind portrays how He brings light into a darkened heart.
His calming of the storm gives a beautiful picture of how He brings peace to troubled hearts.
When He rose the dead to life, it proclaimed His life-giving power.
And in feeding the multitudes we get a vivid picture of Jesus as the Bread of life. And:
In the cleansing of leprosy we are shown that Jesus has the power to cleanse from sin.
In looking at many of the individuals in the Biblical account in Mark 1:40-45 we saw several key characteristics in them that we need to take to heart. To begin with in the leper
We saw the characteristic of great boldness, &
We saw the characteristic of great faith. In Jesus
We saw the characteristic of great compassion, &
We saw the characteristic of great power,
We also watched as Jesus fave a command to be silent then we looked at:
A man who just couldn’t keep silent about what Jesus did for him.
We have now completed chapter 1 of the Gospel of Mark. To a very large degree much of what we witnessed in our study of this first chapter, is Mark taking special efforts to make it very clear that Jesus had a God given authority. To begin with we saw that He had the authority of the King which was seen through the sending of John the Baptist ahead of Him as a herald. Then we saw God’s announcement of His authority through the Spirit descending on Him and through God’s verbal announcement. In the temptation in the wilderness we saw His authority over Satan. We closed the chapter by seeing His authority In God’s Word, then over sickness, disease and demons.
Moving into the first 12 verses of chapter 2, we see His authority clearly being established in whole new area. Will you stand in honor of the reading of God’s Word? Mark 2:1-12
Next Slides
1And when He returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And He was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Please be seated.
The account that has unfolded before us in these verses is one of the most powerfully beautiful accounts in all of the Gospels. In these verses we get a glimpse of the incredible vision of the Master.
If you ask the average person today what they consider to be perfect vision, most will tell you that perfect vision is 20/20 vision. Their answer would be incorrect. For instance, if we compare the vision of the human to that of an eagle, well even the best vision in a human pales in comparison.
To begin with, most eagles have 20/5 or 20/4 vision. They are able to pick up a tiny mouse in a meadow from several hundred feet above the ground. As impressive as that is, that is just the beginning. They also have the ability to see colors far more vivid that we can, for instance, their ability to see ultraviolet range allows them to see bodily traces left by their prey from a few hundred feet above the ground. So what does that mean? It means that they are able to see urine from a mouse and are can determine the exact path the mouse has taken. Then there is the position of their eyes. Our eyes are positioned on the front of our faces, which means we have a peripheral vision of 180 degrees. While the eagles eyes are located towards the front of their heads but are also angled 30 degrees from the midline of their heads which gives them 340 degrees of peripheral vision. Additionally, and especially as we age, our ability to see things both near and far away largely become dependent on wearing special glasses. For instance there are times that to read well I have to pull out reading glasses. In other words, I have to manually switch lenses. The muscles in an eagles eyes enable the eagle to automatically switch from close up to distances so quickly it is unnoticeable. The point is, eagles have a significant advantage over humans in how well they are able to see.
Perhaps right now your wondering, “Wow Jim, thanks so much for the education on the vision of an eagle.....but whats the whole point and will there be a test on this material?”
The point is this, as good as the vision of the eagle may be, what we will see in todays Biblical account makes the vision of the eagle look like a scene from Mr. Magoo. There isn’t a story from the life of Jesus that isn’t compelling to read and think through, but the story from our passage today is one of the more wonderful.
To set the scene for us this morning, Jesus and His disciples had just returned to Capernaum, we do not know for sure how long they had been away, but it was likely several weeks if not a couple months or more. It appears that to the best of their ability they tried to sneak back in incognito. Ever since the leper Jesus cleansed ignored Jesus command to tell know one what what Jesus had done for him, it seemed that everywhere Jesus went, large crowds followed Him. As a result, not long after His return to Capernaum His whereabouts got out. On this particular day, the house He was living in was packed with a standing room only crowd. Most believe that it was the home of Peter. The crowd was so large that every window was blocked and even the door was completely blocked. We don’t get the impression that He was healing on this day, but we do know that He was “preaching the Word to them.” Of course as word got out that He was in town, you would have to expect that any in the area that had need of healing or had a friend of loved one in need of healing would do everything in their power to come face to Face with the Master, to receive a touch of the Master’s Hand. That is exactly what we see taking place in this passage. This is truly a story of a beautiful friendship.
Here we see 4 good friends of a paralytic carrying him from his home on some sort of a portable bed or mat or something along those lines. Rest assured these 5 men were brimming with excitement. There was little doubt that they would not be carrying their friend home, he would be walking home! As they approached the home where Jesus was staying, their hearts sunk, people were streaming from everywhere, and as they approached the home, they saw the door and every window packed with people. Surely someone would be gracious and allow them to bring their dear friend into the home. Unfortunately that was not the case, as hard as they tried, no matter what they said, most just ignored them or worse. I picture that about that time one of the men noticed the external staircase that went to the roof of the house. This was common place in homes in that region at that time in history. They’d come this far already, they were not about to stop now. So they carried their good friend up the staircase and set him down on the roof.
The way roofs were constructed at that time is that they had timbers that were laid parallel to each other between 2-3 feet apart. Then crossways over the timbers, sticks were laid across and close to each other forming the basic roof. Upon this they then laid reeds, branches of trees and thistles. Then they put tiles and dirt and mud, in the end the roofs were about 2 feet thick, even grass grew on them, and here these men were tearing a hole through this roof.
Now, picture those inside. Here they are listening to Jesus preaching the Word to them when all of the sudden they hear kind of a thumping sound from up above. They did their best to ignore it, then a little dust float and lands on a shoulder, a couple minutes later a beam of light breaks through. I picture a wry smile on the face of Jesus, He of course knows exactly what is happening. Perhaps Peter was just about to force his way through the crowd to put a stop to this destruction, I can see Jesus grabbing a hold of Peter’s arm to stop him. “Peter, just wait here, believe me, you don’t want to miss what’s about to happen! Oh, and by the way, don’t forget, I’m a carpenter!” Before long all eyes are looking up as a mat with ropes on each corner is slowing being lowered down, the light is so bright they are able to literally see that on the mat lays a man. A moment later that mat lay at the feet of Jesus. Jesus is now grinning ear to ear. First His eyes are on the paralytic, then He looks up, face filled with joy. It was at this point that we see the remarkable vision of The Master. Everyone else looking up saw the dirty faces and dirty hands of the paralyzed man’s 4 friends. Not Jesus....Jesus: Next Slide
Jesus Saw Their Faith. Mark 2:5; Mt. 9:2; Luke 5:20
This kind of faith unleashes God’s miraculous power! There are 3 things about their faith I want to make sure none of us miss today. Next Slide
3 Characteristics About Their Faith:
Their Faith Was Persistent.
Once they got their friend on that stretcher, they determined that they would stop at nothing until their friend was standing on his own 2 feet. Every obstacle they faced caused them to look for another way. In the end their persistent faith unleashed the power of God. What an important lesson for us! Those who really want something “Go for it”. More often than not, when God gives us a task to complete, most of the obstacles we face are from the enemy trying to stop us. And when they’re not, they are from God and there to prepare us to better accomplish His plan. Since Vision is a major theme this morning, know this: Next Slide
Persistent faith opens the eyes to the Miraculous.
The next characteristic of their faith was: Next Slide
3 Characteristics About Their Faith:
Their Faith Was Persistent.
Their Faith Was Creative.
Chances are there where others who had turned away at the first obstacle they faced who heard about what these men did that thought; “Why didn’t I think of that?” The answer is, they didn’t believe as passionately and love as much as the four men in this account. Believing faith finds a way when others hang their head and walk away.
The next characteristic of their faith was: Next Slide
3 Characteristics About Their Faith:
Their Faith Was Persistent.
Their Faith Was Creative.
Their Faith Was Sacrificial.
Somebody would have to pay for the roof or fix it, ant that would take time, labor and money. A faith that brings Christ power to the world is always willing to pay the price.
So we see in these 4 men Christ’s healing power unleashed in the world—through love and through faith. Oh that we would do the same and that our eyes would then be opened to the miraculous!
This brings us to the next thing we see in the Vision of the Master: Next Slide
Jesus Saw His Heart. Mark 2:5; Mt. 9:2; Luke 5:20
Look at what verse 5 says: “5 And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
Perhaps you may be wondering why I titled this “Jesus Saw His Heart? Why not “Jesus Saw His Greatest Need”? Truthfully, that is a great question and actually very good point, there is no doubt whatsoever that this man’s greatest need was forgiveness. Paralyzed or not. So, why the title “Jesus Saw His Heart?
The reason is this, Jesus only forgives those who seek forgiveness. When Jesus hung on the cross, only one of the 2 men hanging there with Him received forgiveness of his sins, the one who asked for it. Jesus only forgives those who truly seek forgiveness. When Jesus looked down on this paralytic, sure He saw a man who needed healing, yes He saw a man who wanted to walk, but looking into the depths of this man’s heart, He saw a man who wanted forgiveness more than anything else in life. My guess is that when Jesus looked down at this man, this man’s eyes looked down as well. How do you look into the eyes of The Master when the filth of your heart is overwhelming? His eyes undoubtably went to the mat. Yes his greatest need was forgiveness, but that was something only he and Jesus knew. Seeing his heart, Jesus said; “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
He sees into your heart too. What is it His eyes see when He peers into the depths of your heart. If it is the need of forgiveness, it is only a prayer away. Here this man was paralyzed, laying on a mat surrounded by scores of people, all eyes on him as a hush fell over the crowd and what he sought more than anything else in all the world wasn’t strength in his legs, it was freedom from guilt that had riddled his mind for as long as he could remember. Jesus saw into his heart and answered his silent prayer. He longs to do the same for you today. That is why He came to die on the cross, not to heal paralyzed legs, but to cleans the paralyzed heart. Oh won’t you seek Him today.
This brings us to the next thing we see in the Vision of the Master: Next Slide
Jesus Saw Their Thoughts. Mark 2:7-8; Mt. 9:3-4; Luke 5:21-22
It is easy to look at a passage like this today and see only one who was paralyzed in that home in Capernaum. There was actually several. Yes one was physically paralyzed, but there were many more who had a different, and far more dangerous paralysis. A Spiritual paralysis, the paralysis of hatred, the paralysis if pride, the paralysis of indifference, the paralysis of criticism. This is a description of the Scribes and Pharisees that were there that day. We get the impression based on what we see in Matthew Mark and Luke that this was a standing room only crowd, yet in Mark and Luke we find out that the Scribes and Pharisees seated, no doubt in the places of honor. These men were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the day, Godly leaders would have, at a minimum, risen to their feet when they saw the man being lowered down reaching up to take hold of this poor cripple to lay him at the feet of Jesus. They knew He had the power to heal! But instead of love there was indifference, instead of faith there was criticism.
Jesus saw their thoughts and called them on their sin. Their blackened hateful hearts were not hidden from His all seeing eyes. They should have been seeing what the paralytic was seeking, forgiveness. Instead they were looking for a way to condemn Him. What the didn’t realize was that the All Seeing Savior didn’t just see the faith of the 4 friends, He didn’t just see the heart of the paralytic, He didn’t just see their thoughts, He saw into the future and knew their thoughts before He ever pronounced the forgiveness. His intentions were never to stop at the forgiveness, they were always to then move to healing. But we learn in verses 8-11 that He had a lesson to teach these hateful religious leaders, you see He wanted to do some corrective work on the vision of the skeptics, He wanted: Next Slide
The Skeptics See His Authority. Mark 2:10-11; Mt. 9:6; Luke 5:24
Look at what He says in verses 8-11; “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”? 10 But 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, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’
And then the physical miracle verified the moral miracle! At that point in time, what could the Scribes and Pharisees say? In my mind at that point I picture the paralytic weeping, I picture his friends jumping and hollering, the crowd is oohing and aahing, while the Scribes and Pharisees frowned and hung their heads. They should have been following the lead of the paralytic, seeking forgiveness, yet their blind hatred ignored the Hand of the Almighty. The paralytic left that day basking in the cleansing power of forgiveness on freshly healed legs. The Scribes and Pharisees left that day overcome with the dark cloud of hatred, running as it were to the gates of hell.
We see the electrifying end in verse 12: Next Slide
The Carried Carries. Mark 2:12; Mt. 9:7; Luke 5:25
“12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’”
What a display before the wondering crowd! Something tells me the former sin covered paralytic and his four friends headed down the street dancing, singing and shouting. And as he headed down the dusty path home, he bore something far more impressive than his bed, he carried a clean heart. That was the greatest miracle that day! Gone was the guilt, gone was the bitterness, gone was the tension. The time would come when those now strong legs would once again fail him, withering with age, but a completely cleansed heart, that comes from a well that never runs dry.
I want to close this morning with one final thought. You know the Lord can do anything He wants. He can heal any disease, He can cleanse the leper, give sight to the blind, He can raise the dead to life. But the greatest miracle, the only one that is eternal, is that He forgives sin! But as I mentioned earlier this morning, He only gives forgiveness to those who truly seek it. Those who turn a blind eye to their need for forgiveness, will continue to live in the paralyzing grip of Satan.
My prayer for you today is that our time in God’s Word has done some corrective work on your vision. That your eyes have been opened to your need for forgiveness. Today is the day to experience the only miracle that lasts for an eternity. Today is the day to seek forgiveness from the Master who sees all.
Let’s pray.
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