By Michelle De Bruin
Mark 2 is full of fascinating stories complete with heroes, villains, and the unexpected. The friends of a paralyzed man do whatever it takes to get him to Jesus for healing, but the mission proved much more difficult than they thought. Everywhere he went, Jesus drew a crowd. On this particular day, the only way to reach him was not by entering a home politely through the front door, but by cutting a hole in the roof. These men wanted to make absolutely sure their friend received Jesus’ exclusive attention.
But when the moment came for him to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan from the Great Physician, Jesus shocked everyone with his assessment. “Your sins are forgiven. Get up, take your mat and go home.”
And the man did.
His friends’ ounce of faith that got him into Jesus’ presence in the first place produced so much more for him than just the surface healing of his paralysis. He received freedom, wholeness, and the ability to function. Jesus knew this man’s paralysis was a result of sin in his life. If Jesus went to the source of his suffering, the man would enjoy so many more benefits.
Later in the chapter, Jesus meets Levi, the tax collector. Despised and ostracized as a thief, Levi fell into the Pharisees’ class of people known notoriously as “the sinners.” But Jesus comes along and sees Levi for who he really is. He offers Levi the invitation, “Come, follow me.” When Levi accepts, Jesus changes his name to Matthew, a name that means, “Gift of Yaweh.”
When society saw Levi as a crook, Jesus saw him as a gift. Where he experienced rejection and hatred, Jesus offered him acceptance and love. He gives Levi, known in the kingdom as Matthew, a new name, new purpose, belonging, and an important place in the kingdom. Matthew spoke two languages; the language of the Roman world, and the language of the Jews. Even though he couldn’t yet see what lay ahead, Jesus knew he would become one of the writers of the gospels, influencing people for generations.
This is what Jesus does for us. When we lay paralyzed in our sin and unable to function, Jesus sets us free. He heals and he restores in those places where we cannot change our situation on our own. We’re helpless to acquire the rich, full life we desire until Jesus steps in and redeems us. After this happens, we have new purpose, belonging, and an important place in the Kingdom of God. Jesus sees us for who we really are. This truth fuels our lives with meaning and grace so that we can move in freedom, and for eternity.
Michelle De Bruin is a worship leader and spiritual services provider. She lives in Iowawith her husband and two teenage sons. A romantic at heart, Michelle is always looking for glimpses of God’s love through the window of a good story.
You can find her at her website, https://michelledebruin.com/. and you can find her new release, Hope for Tomorrow, on retailers now! Here is a bit more about her debut novel:
When Logan De Witt learns of his father’s sudden death, he returns home to the family’s dairy farm. During his stay, he discovers his mother’s struggle with finances and his younger sister’s struggle with grief. Concern for his family presses Logan to make the difficult decision to leave his career as a pastor and stay on the farm. As a way to make some extra money, he agrees to board the teacher for their local school.
Karen Millerson arrives from Chicago ready to teach high school but her position is eliminated so she accepts the role of country school teacher. Eager to put her family’s ugly past behind her, Karen begins a new career to replace the trust she lost in her own father who had been in ministry when she was a child.
Logan and Karen both sense a call from the Lord to serve him, but neither of them expected that one day they would do it together.
Can Karen learn to trust again? Will Logan lay aside his grief in exchange for God’s purpose for his life?
Thank you so much for joining me today, Michelle! I’ve enjoyed the reminder that Jesus has set me free and continues to bless me with that freedom every single day. Hope for Tomorrow is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And Michelle has graciously agreed to give away a print copy! The winner will be drawn from the commenters on Wednesday, November 21st, at 1 PM EST. So, leave a question, comment, or praise for Michelle to be entered 🙂
THE FINE PRINT: CONTEST VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. ONLY US RESIDENTS WILL BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A PAPERBACK COPY. EACH COMMENTER IS ASSIGNED A NUMBER AND THE WINNER IS DRAWN USING RANDOM.ORG. WINNERS WILL HAVE TWO WEEKS FROM THE DATE OF THE DRAWING TO CLAIM THEIR PRIZE.