Saturday 29th February Read Mark 2:1-17

v 12And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

 

Who would not have been stunned! The hole in the roof; the paralysed man being lowered down on his bed; the totally unexpected response from Jesus, My child, your sins are forgiven. ‘ and the response from Jewish leaders – This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins

For sure, they had never seen anything like this before.

Stunned was something of an understatement, I guess.

The stand-out thing for me however was that they praised God for what had happened. No shrug of the shoulders as if to say, ‘Well, well, fancy that.’ Nor was there any hint of scepticism, ‘Well, the guy was only faking his illness you know.’  No, you have to take the tale at face value; the paralysed man had his mobility restored, and the crowd saw the hand of God in it, and so praised Him for this miracle. That is what a transformed life can do – it enables ordinary people to see beyond the ordinary and acknowledge what God can do in a person’s life.

I’ve never seen a lame person suddenly healed and so able to walk, just as I’ve never seen a leper totally and instantaneously cured of leprosy. These things happen, for sure, even in the 21st Century; it is just that they are outside of my somewhat mundane experience. But I have seen lives transformed and God praised as a result. Perhaps you have too if you care to remember and take stock of God’s transforming grace.

There have been those who have grasped the reality of sin forgiven, and have a great burden lifted from their shoulders. Women and men who have got hold of the truth that God loves them – that they are significant enough for Jesus to have died for them and so open up the way to eternal life for them. The pressure of striving to be good enough for God has been dispersed like an early Summer dew and they can walk with a lighter step knowing that Jesus has accepted them just as they are as they learned to trust Him. It has brought smiles to their faces, renewed joy in relationships and a sense of purpose to life in an uncertain world.

Maybe – just maybe, that has happened to you and others have become aware that you have been transformed into a Jesus-follower. C. S. Lewis hit the nail on the head when he wrote the book ‘Surprised by Joy.’ Sure enough, Jesus has the capacity to surprise like no other.

Jesus has the capacity to surprise like no other.