It’s easy to think of the miracles of Jesus as being ordinary occurrences. After all, we’re only halfway through Mark 2, and already we’ve heard about four specific miracles, as well as references to multiple miracles. The New Testament is so saturated with miracles, especially the Gospels where Jesus lives, that at times I wonder if I live in the same world where Jesus lived.
I wonder, “Where are all the miracles in my life?” But such an attitude produces a kind of envy in me, and envy drives out contentment and thanksgiving. What I forget is that most people in Jesus’ day, even with Him seemingly performing miracles in every nook and cranny of Israel, never saw one of his miracles, and if they did, they probably only saw one.
What I also conveniently forget is the quiet miracle of Christ in me that I wake to every morning. Jesus doesn’t need to perform an additional miracle for me because He’s already doing one, by the mere fact of His presence in me through the gift of His Holy Spirit.
The truth is that when I gaze more intently at this miracle of Jesus healing the paralytic, I am right there, smack dab in the middle of God’s wondrous work. I like to think of myself as one of the guys who carried the paralytic to Jesus. As a father and pastor, this is in fact exactly what I do. But it is also true for me simply as a Christian.
Maybe it’s less that I see myself in this miracle than that I see this miracle in me, for like the miracle of the leper, this is the story of my life and the story of your life. As in verse two, Jesus preaches the Word to us, and, as in this miracle, there is often an obstruction to my hearing His Word the way I should. In this case, there were so many people around Jesus that the friends of the paralytic couldn’t bring him close enough to Jesus to be healed.
In our cases, our chief obstacles are the busy-ness of our schedules and the demands we place on our lives that crowd out Jesus and His miracle. We populate our lives with a day crowded by Things I Must Do Today. The funny thing is that “Going to Experience the Miracle of God’s Presence” doesn’t ever seem to get scheduled in.
Jesus is present in the lives of the paralytic and his friends, as He is in ours, but there is an obstacle. He is ready to breathe out on us His life-giving Word and to touch us with His grace. But something or some things are in our way. What are we to do?
We’re supposed to do what the friends of the paralytic did, and that is to determine what the obstacle is and find a way around it. The grace of Jesus is near us, through His Word and His presence, but often we are supposed to go and find Jesus and to so order our lives that we overcome whatever it is that is in our way.
In this case, the friends of the paralytic uncovered the roof so that the paralytic could go through it. I think of this as like prayer. Sometimes the heavens seem shut up before us so that God is hidden and we can’t get any closer. But in prayer, we uncover the wall of partition that separates us from God, and once again we are able to see God. Like the friends of the paralytic, when we pray, we often “break through” and find God on the other side. The good news is that even a paralytic like me is able to pray.
Jesus could obviously see the need of the paralytic, but what He waited for was to see the faith of those who brought him to Jesus. Notice how Jesus saw their faith. Their faith was not some invisible force that only the X-ray vision of Jesus could see. Instead, their faith was their faithfulness in taking the necessary action to place themselves before Jesus and His power and grace.
How often do we lament the lack of miracles in our lives and the seeming remoteness of Jesus? As often as we refuse to pray and act faithfully to draw near to Him. By the grace of God, sometimes He mercifully descends to us, even when we are not trying very hard to see Him.
But I find that more often He waits to see the faith of His children, a faith that His grace has already made possible but that we often refuse to put to use. Instead of lamenting the absence of God and His miracles in your life, why not seek Him today? Why not investigate the obstacles in your life that keep you from Him and determine to remove them? Uncover the roofs in your life that put a limit on the grace of God, and break through to the presence of God that is the daily miracle in your life.
Prayer: Praise be to You, Father because You have uncovered the roof that separated the earth from Your heaven and You have torn down the dividing wall between God and man. Praise be to You, Jesus, because You stand ready to forgive those who come to you freely confessing their sins and seeking forgiveness. Praise be to You, Holy Spirit, for the continuing miracle of Pentecost in our lives. Amen.
Resolution and Point for Meditation: I resolve today to investigate the obstacles in my life that keep me from seeing Jesus. Some possibilities are: trust in myself instead of in God; attachment to the things of this world; poor choices in my use of time; valuing leisure time pursuits over time with God; discouragement from the apparent remoteness of God; a feeling of weakness or lack of faith; an unwillingness to come before God because He may convict me of my sins; and many others.
Whatever the obstacle, prayerfully consider what action you are supposed to take so that seeing Jesus becomes a daily pursuit of yours.
Healing of the Paralytic – U.S. Public Domain