Last week we began to take a look at Mark 2:1-12. This is the story where Jesus is teaching at a house and some people come bringing a paralyzed man to Him. They can’t get him to Jesus because of the crowd so they go to the roof and drop the man down in front of Jesus. Jesus forgives the man of his sins and then heals him. Last time we looked at Jesus and what He was doing in this story. Today I want to look at how this might be applicable to us in evangelization.
Now before we start here, I want to be clear that this is my commentary. I’m not suggesting that this is THE POINT of the story. But I do believe that scripture can teach us all sorts of things and that God can use it to help us apply things to our life and how we love others. I think this story offers a lot of that. Today I want to focus in on what we can learn about evangelization from this story.
Evangelization Starts With Love
The first thing I think of when I read this story is that these friends obviously loved this paralyzed man. They knew him. They knew his condition and they wanted something better for him. Not only that, but they were willing to do something about it. I don’t know if you’ve ever carried someone, but it’s not easy. We don’t know how far they came. We don’t know how many of them there were. He was carried by four of them at the moment they got there, but they could have rotated. Who knows. What we do know is that they put in some serious effort to help this man.
Evangelization starts with loving our neighbor. It starts with not being ok with a friend’s condition, spiritual or otherwise. We have to love the person and we have to be willing to do what it takes to get them in front of Jesus (more on that in a moment). If I don’t care if someone knows Jesus or not, then I’m not really loving them. I for sure won’t go to much effort to get them in front of Him.
They Worked as a Team and Weren’t Worried About Who Got Credit
To that point, they had to have a group to do it. There’s no way that one person could have carried this man, taken him up on the roof and lowered him down. My guess is that this is many more than four people. This was community evangelization. Call it mission community if you want. We don’t know that all these people were best friends. What we know is that they worked together to get him in front of Jesus.
Typically it takes a lot of people to get one person in front of Jesus. On top of that, when we help carry someone, we may not get to see the end result. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t help carry them. This is why we need to always be ready, and always be leading people towards Jesus. Maybe we get to carry him. Maybe we are roof digger. Maybe all we do is help clear the path to the roof. Most of the time we won’t know. But that doesn’t make it any less important.
They Avoided Two Big Ministry Traps
These friends avoided two big traps that we can fall into when we attempt to evangelize. First, they knew that they could not fix this man. They had no power to forgive his sins. They had no power to heal him. Only Jesus could do that and they knew it. Which is why they were desperate to get him in front of Jesus.
One of the traps we can fall into is that we start thinking that we are Jesus. Of course we don’t think this consciously. But it’s easy to slip into this. We can begin to think of ourselves as the savior. We can take responsibility that is not ours. That leads to two really bad places. The first is obviously arrogance. The second is burnout. I’m not the savior and I shouldn’t try to be. It’s not about me and it’s not a burden that I can carry.
Secondly they did everything that was within their power. They didn’t stop because it was hard or looked like it might not happen. They didn’t get to the house and think, “well looks like we can’t get in. Maybe tomorrow.” They didn’t think, “This is too hard. We can’t do anything more.” They weren’t deterred by obstacles. They didn’t write it off as God’s will by saying, “Must not be our friends time to see Jesus. If God wanted it then there would be room in the house.” No, they overcame the obstacles, they did every single thing they could.
I’m all for God’s sovereignty. However I’m not for hiding in it. I believe that His sovereignty is a launching pad, not a hiding place. If He’s sovereign then why not try everything. I can’t lose. I don’t just chalk it up every time it does’t go right as God doesn’t want it to happen. I don’t pray, “God if you want this person to know you, then it will just happen” or “God, just bring the people you want.” No! We should assume that God wants everyone to know Him. Regardless of my theological leanings who God wants is not my call. Our call is to do all we can, including getting rid of obstacles, to get each person in front of Jesus. There will be obstacles. Things will get hard for us and for the person we are evangelizing. If we stop every time it is hard we aren’t going to get very far.
That’s the faith part, and that is where we’ll start next week.
Some quick takeaways for today.
Do you love the people you want to know Jesus? Are you willing to carry them? Or do you even love anyone enough to carry them to Jesus?
Which of the two traps are more likely to fall into when it comes to evangelization?