[Note: Remember that day when I said “More on that tomorrow”? That day was….too many days ago to count. Forgive me, please. The same night I wrote that post, I got sick — really sick. After a week long sickness, and lots of catching up, I’m finally back. I won’t go making any more promises that I can’t keep. Thanks for your understanding :) Now…shall we look at the last part of this story? In case you missed it: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]
Imagine the tension in the room. A man was just lowered through a roof (busted up by four of his friends). At this point, I picture some dust hanging in the air, and a few people in the crowd checking out the roof and wondering who these crazies are. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth are to tell the man that his sin is no longer counted against him. After a little question exchange with the scribes, Jesus says to the paralytic:
“…Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Mark 2:11
This is the part in the movie where the crowd is on the edge of their seats…or in this case…mats? This is the part that matters most. If the man doesn’t get up, Jesus is a fraud. But if he does…
Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all… Mark 2:12
He got up! The man got up! And we can’t even call him a paralytic anymore because that doesn’t define him—he’s changed, spiritually and physically.
So why did he need his bed again?
Why did Jesus tell him to get up and take his bed? Maybe it would be in the way if he left it? Or maybe Jesus didn’t want to carry it away after a long night of teaching? Or maybe it smelled? What do you think?
I have a theory.
That bed was evidence of his prior condition. When people thought of this man, they thought of him lying in that bed. He was a paralytic, confined to that bed and defined by it…until that one day when his four friends helped him get to Jesus. Everything changed that day. And the bed that once held him was being held by him. He would parade that bed through the streets in his first steps to declare that he was healed—completely.
That’s overcoming. The man didn’t just walk. He walked with bed in tow—a sign to everyone who knew him that he was changed. There was a visible difference.
And for those who said, “Oh you’re not really the paralyzed guy. You just look like him.” The man could hold up his bed and say, “Can you show me where he is?” The bed was part of his testimony. No one could deny his personal experience. I think other people needed to see it, but I think the man needed to see it too. Maybe he propped it in the corner of his room as a reminder of God’s grace upon his life. Can you imagine the emotions that would swell in his heart as he saw that bed? Reflecting on our past is great grounds for worship in our present.
I was never a paralytic in the physical sense, but I know what it feels like to try to get to God by my own ability. It’s a bit the same. No matter how hard you try, you can’t move an inch. You can will it all you want, but you need someone to get you there—someone outside of yourself. That’s why I’m so thankful for Jesus. Before I even knew the half of my sin, Jesus looked at me like he did the paralyzed man and said, “My daughter, your sins are forgiven.” With that one phrase, I became part of His family, forever free. I am a daughter of the Maker of heaven and earth. My Dad keeps the universe spinning, flowers blooming, rain falling, and babies growing—no big deal, right? When I look at where I was headed (death), and where I’m headed now (abundant life), I have to get up; I have to take up my bed; and I have to go out.
What’s your testimony? Is there something that was holding you back, but now is a tool to display God’s great power? For me, it was the attitude that I was good enough—that I could get to God on my own merit. As soon as I realized I couldn’t, it made room for Jesus to strengthen my legs and enable me to walk the path called grace. My life is evidence that satisfaction is only found as I trust Christ by faith, instead of trusting myself. The latter always leads to disappointment, but the former always leads to hope. I share that with others now, because many people are like me and believe there is such a thing as “good enough” apart from grace. If my one little testimony can help someone get to grace, why not share it? God deserves the glory, and He’s given me the power to live as a witness to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
But, do you notice where Jesus tells him to go first? Not to the other side of the world, or even another region. He tells him to go to his house. Carry your testimony to your family first. The people who have seen you at your worst are the ones who should see God’s power working in you the most. It’s hard to display godly character at home, but with Christ’s power, you are able — not only able, but required. Home isn’t a place where you “put your feet up,” spiritually speaking. Your brother, your wife, your daughter, your son need the same Jesus you share with everyone else. Don’t go parading your testimony to the world before you first share it in your own home, and not just with your words, but your actions. What a challenge we have before us! But, should we choose to accept it, the people around us will “[glorify] God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” (Mark 2:12)
I’m leaving you with a challenge: share your story today — with your kids, the barista at the local coffee shop, that friend who doesn’t know Jesus, or your great grandma in the nursing home. As our actions and words align to the great power of the Gospel, it will cause others to glorify God. He deserves it.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16