Midweek Wake-Up, May 26th, 2018
It just seemed wrong! The four friends had worked so hard to get their friend to Jesus. They pushed through all the crowds, dug through the earthen roof and then taken the strain as they lowered their paralyzed friend to the floor on a mat. Then the miracle healer who, thus far had healed every person brought to him, drops a bomb. Instead of healing their friend he says: “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2) What! This wasn’t why these men brought their friend to Jesus. Can you imagine how they were feeling? Surprised, frustrated, disappointed, angry? And yet Jesus clearly demonstrates that there is something far more important than this man being physically healed – the greatest need of all men, women, boys and girls is forgiveness for our sin, forgiveness for our rebellion against our creator and a new relationship with Him. That is God’s first priority – it always has been.
The Old Testament story of the Exodus, where God sets His people free from slavery and oppression in Egypt has often been used as a template for other liberation movements. And whilst God is very much concerned about freedom for oppressed peoples, the story of the Passover makes it crystal clear that socio-political liberation is not the most important thing, just as the healing of the paralyzed man was not the most important thing. Like Egypt, Israel had been guilty of not listening to God and of worshipping other gods in Egypt. Israel deserved the just judgment of God for their rebellion against Him. But for Israel God provided a means of rescue from the judgment in the form of a Passover lamb. When the angel of death saw the blood of the lamb on the door frames he passed over those homes (Exodus 12).
Christ is our Passover lamb who has been slain for our sin so that we can be saved from the judgment of God, be set free from slavery to sin and begin to live a joy-filled life of obedience to Him. Often, it’s hard to bring a message about sin, judgment and rescue to our world. This isn’t a message that the world around us is that enthusiastic to hear. A message of socio-economic liberation is much more palatable and positive, so Christians, Churches, and Christian organizations can easily relegate the most important thing to something less important. As we do this the world around us never gets to hear about the greatest liberation movement ever – freedom from sin and death.
If one of your good non-Christian friends was asked to explain what you believe is the most important thing of the Christian faith, what would they say? Have you ever told them about the most important thing?