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Welcome

THE EXHORTER

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40

The Palmer Road church of Christ, Westland, Mi.

May 29, 2016

Jump Start # 1583

Mark 2:11 "I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home."

Our verse today comes from the incredible miracle that took place in a home in Capernaum. The house was packed. A person couldn't even get through the door. I expect some were standing against the wall and others were sitting on the floor. It was probably stuffy in there. Four friends carrying a crippled man on a pallet came to find Jesus. They just know Jesus will heal him. They can't get in. They can't get to Jesus. No one will step outside so they can come inside. That would enough for many of us. We tried. We couldn't get in. Maybe tomorrow, we tell ourselves. But not these four. Tomorrow won't work. Up to the roof they go. They remove the tiles and make an opening, it would be a large opening. Debris, dust, dirt would be falling on the people below. They lower the pallet with their injured friend. All eyes would be looking up to see this. The pallet is lowered slowly before the Lord. They say nothing. The injured man says nothing. Jesus speaks first. He says, "Your sins are forgiven you." This was based upon seeing their faith. Interesting, they didn't bring their crippled friend to get forgiveness. They just wanted him to walk. As soon as Jesus says this, the grumbling Pharisees go into action. They question Jesus' right to forgive sins. No one can forgive sins except God. They were right. They simply didn't connect the dots. Only God can forgive. Jesus just forgave. The conclusion is obvious. Jesus is God. They accuse Jesus of blasphemy.

It was at this point that Jesus questioned them. Which is easier forgiving sins or restoring crippled legs? Many would say, forgiving sins. Forgiving sins seems like empty words. But they weren't. Behind the authority to forgive sins would come a sacrifice for those sins. Forgiving sins meant a cross. It meant a death. It meant a resurrection. Now, which is easier? Jesus started with the most difficult-forgiveness.

It was at this point that Jesus wanting to demonstrate that He had all authority said, "Get up, pick up your pallet and go home." Get up. That was an act of faith on the crippled man. He had not "gotten up" in a long time. His legs were shot. He couldn't get up. Even if he could, he would be so weak that he could not pick up his pallet. He'd fall over if he even could stand.

 

(OVER) 
What an act of faith! Did Jesus mean it? Could he really do it? There was a room full of people. What if he failed? What if he fell? What if he couldn't do it? Get up, pick up your pallet and go home. The text tells us that he did exactly that. There is no indication that anyone step forward to help him up. He was on his own. A moment of faith. A moment of trust.

He got up and immediately picked up his pallet and went out in sight of everyone. To do that, people moved around to allow him to pass by. The crowded house was full of amazement. People were declaring, "We've never seen anything like this." I expect as he got outside there were four friends hurrying off the roof who embraced and their faces were filled with smiles. Jesus did it. We knew he would do it. As they left, there must have been others who thought, "I sure wish I had brought my crippled son," or, "I wish I brought mama, she's not been well."

Get up and pick up your pallet. Faith meets the incredible Jesus.

You and I have pallets that we are confined to. We are held down by the crippling nature of sin. We are confined by guilt and shame. We have hurt others. We have let others down. We have failed. Satan is always reminding us of our failures. Often, family and friends do the same thing. We are kept on our mats.

God wants to forgive you. There is a way. There is a plan. It starts with faith. Faith in the Lord. Faith that Jesus is the Lord. Faith in that He can forgive you. That faith leads to repentance, the turning away from sin and the turning to God. That faith leads you to confess that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God. That faith leads you to be immersed in water for forgiveness. It's that last step, baptism that trips many people. They want to be saved before baptism. They want to be saved without baptism. They want Jesus to do it all. Get up and pick up your pallet. Is that any different than Jesus' words, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved"? Can you do it? Will it really work? Can I finally get off this mat of guilt, shame and sin? How do I know? Same thoughts as the crippled man on that mat in the Capernaum house. Faith. Trust. Knowing Jesus.

Some of us have been on these mats for a long, long time. We can't forgive ourselves. We can't forget what we've done. We keep returning to the scene of the crime. It's like those white crosses you see along the road side. They are reminders of a fatal car accident. Someone died there. Some continue to put flowers at those crosses. I've seen some decorated. The person isn't buried there. It's not a cemetery. It's a scene of an accident. Something terrible happened. And now there is that constant reminder. Every day I pass several of these crosses. I wonder why the families keep them there. I wonder why they want that reminder of that horrific nightmare. Having never gone through that, this puzzles me. Our sins and mistakes can be like those white crosses along side the highway. There they are. We remember them. We don't ever get very far way from them. These things become a burden and a discouragement to us.

It's time to allow Jesus to forgive us and then forgive ourselves. It's time to remove those crosses that remind us of our failures.

Get up, take up your pallet and go home. Can you do that spiritually? Can you believe?

Roger Shouse