Moving from the outskirts to side of Jesus
What would you do if you had to get God's attention? Would you pray harder? Pray louder? Trek a pilgrimage, or make a promise to him?
In Mark 2, we see something that really grabbed Jesus' attention while he taught masses of people crammed into a house: the friends of a paralyzed man, unable to penetrate the crowd surrounding the entry to the house Jesus was teaching in, scaled the walls to the home, passed their friend up, tore up the roof of the house and lowered their handicapped friend down directly in front of Jesus! As startling as the roofing demolition must have been, it wasn't the interruption itself that grabbed Jesus' attention; it was the trust of the friends that Jesus had the ability to take care of their friend. Mark 2:5 reveals what Jesus was moved by: "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you." The friends exhibited their trust and faith in Jesus with their actions, and nothing was going to prevent them from getting their buddy to Jesus. Surprisingly, Jesus didn't immediately address what seemed to be the most pressing matter of the man's disability, but instead first met the man's primary need - the necessity of forgiveness from God, which can only be obtained by faith in Jesus. This statement, however, brought instant scorn and doubt from the religious professionals, who immediately charged blasphemy, by fact that no one but God can forgive sin. This brought Jesus to the very point he wanted to demonstrate, however, and even as the words were on the tongues of the doubters, Jesus displayed his divine ability by instantly healing the paralyzed man so that he was able to stand up and walk out.
Mark's account reveals very similar attitudes among the people of Jesus' day as the gospel of Christ encounters today. First, there is the general crowd - the people who packed the house and yard to hear Jesus - their attitude could be described as interested, but uncommitted. Surprisingly, most of the people couldn't see past Jesus' miracles - they loved the circus-like appeal of miracles, but didn't give serious consideration past those to the call of Jesus himself. Our culture is full of this attitude - it seems like the majority of people are content to let Jesus occupy a place in their thoughts, but aren't sure enough of him to follow him with their lives or give him their hearts. Second, there are those like the professional scribes - haughty, critical, aloof. They ridicule the claims and impact of Jesus because they are antagonized about the ramifications of the authenticity of Jesus' claims and they are unwilling no matter what the display of authenticity to submit themselves to his way. Third, there are those who exhibit faith, such as the friends of the paralyzed man and it is a faith that grabs God's attention and triggers the movement of his hand.
What steps would you take to go from the outskirts of the crowd to being right in the center at the side of Christ?