Lifelines September 12, 2021

Lost souls are everywhere.  They occupy the dark alleys and back streets.  They are the violent and criminal.  They are the outcasts of society.  These are the ones who are easy to spot.  Their lifestyle is front and center, but some are not so obvious.  They are the reputable who live in the nice houses, drive the fancy cars and work at the prestigious companies.  They are just as dead.  They simply live in fancier coffins.

The Lord has redeemed His church for a mission.  Good works characterize His people, and there is no better task than seeking those who are trapped in sin.  We may have difficulty identifying them because they look like everybody else, maybe even better.  Their darkness is usually covered over with the veneer of success.  Inside, they are empty. 

They may be in the pew next to us.  Maybe, it is us.  That deep darkness is within.  Our Sunday best has nothing to do with the kind of person we really are.  A fancy chandelier shines no light on that internal problem.  Jesus warned of the danger that consumes us when our focus is wrong (Matthew 6:22-23).  It grows in intensity as it permeates every aspect of life.  These people are all around us.  Do we see them?  Are we looking?

Several men knew that their friend’s condition was beyond their ability (Mark 2:1-12).  He needed help above and beyond their skills, and there was only one place to look.  Jesus was in the neighborhood, and they were convinced that He was the solution.  So, they sought Him and were stymied by a crowd.  There always seem to be people between the needy and the Lord.  It was time for an unorthodox approach.  Faith will do that.  It will find some kind of way to get people to Jesus.

So, up on the roof they went ripping the tiles apart and lowering their friend to the great physician.  It was then and there that the picture froze.  Jesus did not immediately heal the visible problem.  Paralysis is horrible but sin is worse.  He declared the cure for the worst.  Huh?  Who can do that but God alone?  The implications are enormous.

God in human form?  Forgiving sins?  What about that physical matter?  Yes, He took care of that but the more important issue was the sins, and the healing of the body proved His authority to heal the soul.  The Lord cares about both.  We should, too.  The four roof-snatchers had faith in Christ which He saw and honored. 

Does our faith drive us like that?  To go to extremes to get the spiritually lame to the only hope they have?  They are everywhere in deep need.  He is the great healer of both body and soul, but the crowd still stands in the way.  Will we help them get beyond it?  Will our faith rip off the roof?