The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

Loving God means loving people. This may be a correlation that seems obvious to some but not to others. In our story, four men take their paralyzed friend to Jesus. When they arrived at the house where Jesus was teaching, there was no room for them to get in the door. These faithful men would not be deterred and went up on the roof and dug through it. They did all of this so their friend could see Jesus. Who brought you to Jesus, and how has that changed your life? With who is the Lord prompting you to share the love of Jesus?

The Hearts of the Teachers of the Religious Law Revealed

The four friends of the paralyzed man were unschooled Jews who came in faith. In contrast, the teachers of the law have much knowledge but don’t appear to have much faith. Mark 2: Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” [1]

When I Love God, I Love Others

Something happens when we come to faith, and the Holy Spirit begins to live inside us. Perhaps you have experienced this as God opened your spiritual eyes. As we grow in faith, the Lord begins to transform us, and we begin to see people in a new way. They may be the same people, but God has opened our eyes to their inner needs. You may begin to pray for strangers that you meet instead of ignoring them. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

In our story, the teachers of the religious law had a heart problem that only the Lord could fix. This fix only comes when we place our faith in Jesus.

Ask the Lord to Give You a Greater Love for People

The act of asking God for a greater love for others demonstrates a transformation of your heart. Our Lord loves to answer these prayers because He knows it changes you and those you meet. Perhaps the Lord is prompting you to pray that prayer as you read this.

 John 15:12This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.[2] When we love others, it changes them and us! To hear how loving God means loving people, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1,2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Change my Heart O, God is one of my favorite songs that points to God as the one who changes our hearts. Have you ever prayed and asked the Lord to change your heart? I have prayed about this many times because I know I can’t change my heart on my own. Even King David knew he needed God’s help to change his heart. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. [1]

A Hardened Heart Deceives the Religious Leaders

Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing. They came with faith and open hearts to receive God’s blessings. As they went to the house where Jesus was ministering, they discovered the place was so full that they couldn’t get in the door. Because they were determined to get their friend to Jesus, they went up on the house roof and dug a hole right through it.

Mark 2:4 Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” [2]

A Softened Heart is a Blessing from God

What if the teachers of the religious law had come to Jesus with open hearts? How would their actions be different? When we come to know Jesus as our Savior, our hearts change. The Holy Spirit takes up residence and begins to transform us. A once hardened heart is now pliable and soft as the Lord changes how we see Him, others, and ourselves. Perhaps you lacked compassion, but God gives you concern for others.

A softened heart is a gift from God and something only He can do. Paul writes about this heart change. Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.[3]

The Lord Wants to Change Our Hearts

The Lord, in His mercy, always wants His children to be growing in their faith! A heart growing in love spills out on other people bringing the love and compassion of Jesus. This is God’s desire for you and why He prompts you to pray for your heart to change.

To hear how to ask, “change my heart O God,” listen here:  

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

A cornerstone can be defined as something essential or indispensable.[1] Faith is the cornerstone of life because it is vital for eternal life and transformation in this lifetime. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:20 that Jesus is our chief cornerstone. And it is this cornerstone on which we build our faith. Hebrews 11:1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.[2]

While Jesus was teaching in a house in Capernaum, four men brought a paralytic lying on a mat to Him in a rather unusual way. Mark 2:They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” [3] As you read this brief story, there is a direct connection between the men’s faith and taking their friend to Jesus. Their faith propelled them forward, including finding a way to Jesus through the roof.

When I am not Sure About my Faith

The four men in our story have great faith, but what if I struggle with my faith? You may know that faith is the cornerstone of your life in an academic sense but not feel like you have a strong faith. What should you do?

Having doubts about our faith can throw our life off balance. When we struggle with faith, it can feel like our purpose for life is shaky ground. The good news is that the Lord is always there to speak to us and confirm that we have faith. He may not speak in an audible voice but through the Holy Spirit, His Word, or another way.

Romans 8:16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.[4] The Psalms are full of people crying out to God, so you are not alone as you ask the Lord to help you work through your struggle with faith.

Faith Propels Us Forward

There is something about faith that propels us forward despite obstacles, difficulties, or other issues. We see this in our story as these men bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. [5]

How has the Lord led you in your life? How has His leading transformed your life? Jesus is our good shepherd and desires to lead His sheep when they struggle, doubt, or need the reassurance of faith. Philippians 4:19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. [6]

To hear how faith is a cornerstone of life, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1] https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cornerstone

[2-6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

God’s Word tells us our greatest need is forgiveness. Jesus came into this world to die for our sins and rise again so we could receive forgiveness. Although other needs in life are necessary, such as water, food, and shelter, nothing compares to our spiritual needs.

Today you may have a significant burden because of the sin in your life. We can ask Jesus to forgive us and take our burden of sin to the cross and leave it there. In our story today, four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, hoping that Jesus would heal him, but something greater happened!

Mark 2:They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” [1]

Why Did Jesus Forgive Him First and Then Heal Him?

Our story clearly shows that the four men were bringing their friend to Jesus for physical healing. What they did not realize was his greatest need was forgiveness. Our greatest need is also forgiveness. The text doesn’t name this man’s sins. No matter what the sins, they were forgiven. In God’s mercy, Jesus also healed him of his paralysis. The forgiveness and healing were great miracles and a time of teaching for this man and all who saw it. Our greatest need is forgiveness of sin.

Forgiveness Changes Our Lives

Nothing in life is more life-changing than being forgiven of our sins. I remember a man who was a great soldier. He had more medals than anyone I ever met personally, but he did not know the Lord. When he was about fifty years old, he developed cancer and had to have a caretaker help him each day. This Christian caretaker led him to Jesus. He asked Jesus to forgive his sins and come into his heart. He became a different person, and the countenance on his face changed after he came to faith.

God used him to tell many other people about Jesus. He would live almost a year after this, but he had hope of eternal life during his suffering. This happened all because Jesus died on the cross for our sins and calls people to faith. This is the same blessing the Lord wants to extend to us. As believers, we need to ask for forgiveness daily because we sin daily. If you don’t know Jesus, you can confess your sins and ask Jesus into your heart. You, too, can have the hope of eternal life.

The Apostle Paul tells us of the kindness of Jesus, who forgives our sins. Ephesians 1:7He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.[2] Don’t delay. Take your sins to the cross and let Jesus forgive you! He is waiting now with open arms to receive you.

To hear how our greatest need is forgiveness, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1,2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Overcoming obstacles of life can be a time of testing. Perhaps as you read this, there is a significant obstruction in your life that you are trying to overcome. Obstacles in life are not all harmful. Sometimes roadblocks are God’s way of moving us in a different direction. Other times the Lord uses difficulties to get our attention. Every hindrance is different, and God uses them in various ways to accomplish His plan for our lives.

In our story, four friends of a paralytic were bringing him to Jesus only to find out the house was too crowded for them to enter. The text does not say if they asked God what to do next, but it says they did something unexpected. Mark 2:They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” [1]

Obstacles Help us to Rely on God

Have you ever tried to do life on your own only to find out the hard way you need God? I remember coming to the end of myself and not knowing the best way to move forward. I had sensed from the Holy Spirit for months what to do, but I did not want to listen. In the meantime, the difficulty remained until it became overwhelming. By this time, I was ready to listen and make the changes the Lord had put on my heart.

What did I learn from this? God was patiently waiting as I was becoming more frustrated. The Lord did not give up and continued to remind me what He wanted me to do. Psalm 145:8The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. [2]

Obstacles Can Move Us in a Different Direction

Sometimes, God uses obstacles to move us in a different direction so we can fulfill the plans He has for us. Sometimes this can be a difficult time in life because we don’t know where God is leading us. 2 Corinthians 5:7For we live by faith, not by sight.[3]

Is the Lord stretching you as He calls you to walk by faith? This can be a significant step for anyone and a unique time in your life of growing in faith. This does not mean it will be easy, but God will bless you.

Obstacles Refine Us

God’s refinement process is often one where the Lord uses difficulties in our life to take off some rough edges. Pride and self-sufficiency are often barriers to growing in faith. When we hit the wall of life, pride and self-sufficiency often fade away. If you are experiencing this now, know the Lord is with you and loves you.

1 Peter 1:7These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. [4]

To hear about overcoming obstacles of life, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1,2,4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[3] The New International Version. (2011). (2 Co 5:7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

I believe it is not if but when God changes our plans. We may have goals, but the good news is the Lord has better ones. These plans take His divine intervention. Has the Lord ever changed your plans?

As people, we think we know best until we come to a dead-end or find ourselves in the mud and mire and cry out to God. Psalm 40:He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. [1] There are other times when life situations interrupt our plans, and the Lord takes us in another direction. The Lord can interrupt us through our circumstances and place His desire for us in our hearts.

I worked in manufacturing engineering until Lord called me into deeper water as a pastor. This was a direct intervention in my life that changed my life and the lives of my entire family.

Jesus Looked to the Father for His Plans

Four men brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They were bold enough to break into the roof to get their friend in front of Jesus. This would have interrupted Jesus’ teaching time. Fortunately, Jesus was always open to the plans of the Father. John 6:38 For I (Jesus) have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.[2]

Often, when we have our plans interrupted, we respond with irritation and frustration. Jesus doesn’t react with annoyance but with compassion. The Father has just allowed Him to put what He had been preaching into practice.

The paralyzed man was forgiven of his sins and healed of his paralysis. His encounter with Jesus was life-changing, not only for himself but for all watching.

Let the Lord Change Your Plans

What if you woke up each day and asked the Lord to interrupt your life with His plans? How differently would your week unfold? The Bible tells us that God is good, so everything He does is good. This means when God changes our plans, it is for our good. God loves us more than we can comprehend and always wants the best for us. He does not have hidden motives to manipulate us.

The Lord is always in the business of transforming us to make us more like Jesus. Everything He does helps change us in this life and prepare us for eternity. God’s plans are not always easy, and I can speak from experience, but they are always good. Proverbs 16:3 Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. [3]

To hear more about when God changes our plans, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-forgiveness-over-healing


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

The importance of obedience is taught many times in the Bible. Is the Lord prompting you to obey what He has said? If we are honest, I believe we all struggle with obedience at times. God may call us, like a parent, to stop doing something or start doing something, yet we act like we don’t hear Him. When we come to our senses and are obedient, we begin to see the blessings the Lord was trying to give us.

I am thankful the Lord is very patient with us. Psalm 86:15But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”[1] The Lord is patient and gives us many opportunities to obey His call. How has the Lord been patient in your life so you could have another chance to follow His calling?

The Leper Disobeyed Jesus

The leper came to Jesus and humbly asked Jesus to heal him. Mark 1:41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him. [2]

Disobedience to God Hurts us and Others

Sometimes I think we are like the leper. We hear what Jesus said but think it will be ok to do something different. We think it will be fine and don’t see the more significant picture from our perspective. When the leper proclaimed what Jesus did, it prevented others from coming to Jesus.

Obedience Always Blesses Others

God not only rewards those who are obedient but those who are close to the obedient ones. For example, a parent who obeys the Lord blesses their entire family. Similarly, a child’s obedience will bless their parents. When you choose to follow the Lord, He will bless you. The Lord does this because obedience always leads to blessings.

To hear more on the importance of obedience, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-preaching-and-healing


[1] The New International Version. (2011). (Ps 86:15). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 1:41–45). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Jesus’ heart of compassion is so great for each person it is hard for us to comprehend. Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus demonstrates His understanding for others by His actions. This same compassion propelled Jesus to come to this earth and die for our sins on the cross at Calvary.

In our story today, Jesus meets a man who is a leper who requests healing. Leprosy affects the body physically, emotionally, relationally, and financially. You were considered unclean as a leper, so you had to isolate yourself. You could not have contact with your family nor continue to work. Most lepers lived together outside the community.

But as this man has hope as he approaches Jesus. The Bible does not say how he came to know about Jesus, but he boldly asks to be healed. Mark 1:40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.[1]

Jesus Has Compassion for You

Sometimes we think that Jesus may have compassion for others, but maybe not me. Our enemy, satan, always wants us to believe we are not worthy of the mercy of Jesus. This may be the voice that is playing in your mind today as you read this. The truth is Jesus does have compassion for you and all people. You are worthy because Jesus died for your sins on the cross. Not one sin was left out.

2 Corinthians 2:9You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. [2] When we come to Jesus and place our faith in Him, we are rich spiritually. This kind of richness can never deteriorate or be stolen.

Accepting Jesus’ Compassion Will Change Your Eternal Destination

The leper was drawn to Jesus and received the gift of healing. Our compassionate Jesus draws us to Himself and extends the gift of salvation to us. Like the leper, we must receive the gift, and when we do, it changes everything. Jesus healed the leper, and it changed his life. The more extraordinary gift, though, is the gift of salvation that transforms us in this world and opens the way to eternal life. Jesus is extending the gift of salvation to you today if you have never received it.

Jesus’ Compassion is a Model for Us

When we know Jesus as our Savior, He begins to change how we think and act. You may not have been a person of compassion until God started to work in you. Jesus is our model of understanding and transforms us to be like Him. Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.[3]

To hear about Jesus’ heart of compassion, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-preaching-and-healing


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 1:40–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (2 Co 8:9). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[3] The New International Version. (2011). (1 Pe 3:8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Desperation humbles us. Have you ever experienced the kind of desperation that made you look to God amid struggles? If so, what did the Lord teach you through this?

There is something about coming to the end of ourselves which forces us to look to God. I am always amazed as the Lord is so patient with us. He knows it would be easier if we would have humbled ourselves long before we became so desperate. In our story, a leper comes to Jesus for healing. A leper would have had a tough life, including being an outcast from society.

A Desperate Leper Humbles Himself

In his desperation, the leper sought out Jesus. The text does not tell us how he came to know about Jesus, but he did. His desperation propelled him to go to Jesus and humble himself. Often our desperation does the same thing. Mark 1:40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.[1]

Good Things Happen When We Humble Ourselves

Humbling ourselves can be one of the most challenging things we do in our life. Our sinful nature often keeps us from doing what we know we need to do. I tend to try to do things on my own without God. Then I find out the hard way that it doesn’t work.

When we finally come to the Lord, He is waiting for us with open arms of love. God does not ask what took us so long. Instead, in His mercy, He puts His loving arms around us. We don’t think like God, so we don’t understand the Lord’s love for us. When we come to the Lord in humility, He begins to teach and mold us in a way only He could. His hands are gentle like a mother with a newborn baby. Then we question why we took so long.

Humility Refines Us

God uses humility to take off our rough edges. Just as a tumbler smooths a rough rock, God does the same for us. The tumbler changes the stone into something smooth and beautiful. Humility does the same for us.

Colossians 3:12, “ Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”[2] Is the Lord calling you today to clothe yourself with humility? Don’t let pride stop you from humbling yourself; seek out the Lord of Love, patience, and kindness.

To hear how desperation humbles us, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-preaching-and-healing


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 1:40–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Col 3:12). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Faith is the greatest miracle that God gives us. Sometimes people can get caught up in the miraculous of people healed physically and miss the most critical part. The vital factor is placing our faith in Jesus as our Savior. While a miracle is impressive, and I have seen them firsthand, this does not compare to the gift of faith. This is truly the greatest miracle.

A healing miracle should always point to Jesus. A healing is only for this lifetime while saving faith is for all eternity. This does not take away from the healing miracle, God’s gift. Have you placed your faith in Jesus as your Savior? If so, you have experienced a miracle that lasts into eternity. If you have not put your faith in Jesus, He is calling you today!

Jesus Preaches and Heals

A leper humbly approached Jesus and requested to be healed. Mark 1: 38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. 40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed.[1]

Jesus then told the man to go to the priest following his healing to be declared clean. This follows the law of Moses, and it connected the miracle to the spiritual aspect. Did the healed leper go to the priest? The text does not say. The text does say he could not stop telling others what Jesus did for him.

A Young Man was Healed and Came to Faith

I was on a mission trip in Honduras where a young man in the crowd had a damaged arm from a motorcycle accident. His arm was useless and would be the rest of his life. Our mission speaker sensed from God that He wanted to heal a man injured in an accident. The young man did not want to come forward, but his mother pushed him.

The mission speaker prayed for him, and soon he had his arm out of the sling and was moving it up and down and jumping up and down. Wow! That was a healing miracle. But the greater miracle followed when our mission speaker led him in a prayer of salvation. The Lord used this miracle to get his attention. God truly loved and cared for him. He saw the Lord heal him in real time. But the Lord’s desire was for a relationship with him. Wow! Another and greater miracle.

To hear how faith is the greatest miracle, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/mark-preaching-and-healing


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mk 1:38–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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