through His Word
by Mary Holloman
Tears poured down his cheeks, not unlike the streams of rain making their relentless trek down the window panes. A certain three-year-old had his heart set on playing outside with Daddy, who’d just gotten home from work. But a storm had materialized out of nowhere, forcing me to deliver the terrible news: we had to stay inside.
After the initial stages of denial and anger, my son wiped the tears from his eyes and stared out the window. He crossed his arms and said under his breath, “I will stop the rain.”
Ok, I thought, that didn’t sound menacing at all.
“Um ...what do you mean, Benjamin?” I said.
He turned to face me, a flash of lightning casting a momentary glow across his determined face.
“I will stop the rain,” he said again, “because I—” he brought both hands together as if he were holding an invisible ball of energy, “—have magic weather powers.”
Well, this was a new one. “Oh,” I said, “I, uh ... didn’t know that about you.”
“Yes,” he said, as if this were a simple fact about himself, right on the list next to “likes cars and trucks.”
And then, Benjamin turned back to the window, pointed his invisible ball of energy toward the rain, and yelled, “Pssshhhh-ca-CAAAWW!!”
I bit back laughter as Benjamin stared at the rain, clearly waiting for some results. When nothing happened, he looked to me, frustration on his face.
“Maybe next time, Buddy,” I said in the most sincere tone I could muster.
Don’t worry, Benjamin recovered from his disappointment. As wonderful as his imagination is, I don’t believe he really thought he could change the weather. And neither did I. After all, something so extraordinary would be incredible.
Something so extraordinary would demand a response.
The earthly ministry of Jesus is fascinating, filled with miraculous healings, the casting out of demons, the defying of natural laws, and truly extraordinary moments.
One of my favorites is in Mark 2:1-12. Crowds of people were pressing into the building where Jesus was teaching, hoping to be healed or maybe to see something amazing. Four men were so desperate for their paralytic friend to walk again that they lowered him through the roof of the building in the hopes that Jesus would notice.
He definitely noticed.
But Jesus’ response to the sight of this man surprised many. He said, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5 ESV*).
Silence filled the room. The paralytic’s friends leaned through the hole of the roof, clinging to the edge and holding their breath. Wondering. Waiting.
The weight of Jesus’ words began to seep into the listeners’ hearts. If this man claims to have the authority to forgive sins …
Such a claim would have extreme consequences. Was He crazy? He couldn’t be serious. Jesus knew these thoughts and doubts even as they took form within the minds around Him—and He addressed them head on.
“Why do you question these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8) He asked. “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?” (Mark 2:9).
The scribes’ eyes narrowed. The people shifted awkwardly. On the one hand, it would be harder to say “Rise, take up your bed and walk,” because that person’s words could be immediately disproved if the paralytic was not healed. Saying “Your sins are forgiven”—however outlandish a claim—would technically be impossible to disprove.
But the question was meaningless, right? After all, no mere man could do either. It was impossible. Unless …
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ...” (Mark 2:10). Jesus turned, His piercing gaze fixed on the paralytic. The man held his breath. Waited.
Jesus’ words were clear and unmistakable: “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home” (Mark 2:11).
And in that moment, the paralytic—the man who’d known only the flatness of his mat and the hopelessness of a life trapped within his own body—rose to his feet and walked.
The power to heal and the authority to forgive sins—immediately proven.
The Response Required of Us
The book of Mark is full of extraordinary moments in a time when Jesus demonstrated His authority and sovereignty. Jesus’ ability to heal physically was proof of His ability to heal spiritually.
Every extraordinary moment demands a response. So what does a moment that took place thousands of years ago mean for us today? I believe there are three main takeaways:
If Jesus has complete authority over all things, then I can trust Him in all things—He is trustworthy (Matthew 28:18; Psalm 9:10).
If Jesus is trustworthy, then I can believe Him when He says He is with me and for me (Romans 8:31, 35; Matthew 28:20)
- If Jesus is with me and for me, then the safest place for me to be is right in the middle of His will (Matthew 28:19; 1 John 2:3).
As I watched my son try to change the weather with his invisible ball of energy, I was reminded of who we limited humans are not—and of who God is. A God who has not only the ability but also the desire and determination to forgive me of my sin and bring me into his family—a God like that—deserves my trust, allegiance, and radical obedience.
No circumstance, no temptation, no difficulty can ever change the truth that God is sovereign. He is enough. And He showed us in the most beautiful, costly way possible.
Every extraordinary moment demands a response.
What will yours be?
*All Scripture verses are taken from the ESV.
© Copyright 2018 by Mary Holloman
Mary Holloman is a wife, mother, writer, and avid fan of all things dark chocolate. When she’s not writing or wrangling a couple of small monkeys, she’s working for her local pregnancy resource center and serving in her church’s college ministry. She contributes monthly to www.Just18Summers.com and can be found blogging at www.maryholloman.com. You can follow her on Instagram at @marytholloman.
This post is a part of our series called “Overcoming the Obstacles of the Christian Life,” based on the Gospel of Mark. If you missed any of the previous posts, click the links below to check them out:
- “Jesus Can Make Your Giants Fall” – 10 reasons why Jesus can handle any obstacle we face, written by Katy Kauffman
- “Silencing the Questions of Fear” – how faith in Jesus can calm our fears, plus six faith-building verses to hold onto
- “The Day Hopelessness Had No Chance” – how Jesus can help us no matter how bad our circumstances get
- “The Day Helplessness Lost Its Power” – how faith in Jesus can overcome helplessness and lead to renewal
- “Enrich the Soil of Your Heart” – 3 ways to reap a harvest of blessing in your life, written by Joanna Eccles
- “Unity Is at the Heart of Christ’s Desire for the Church” – 3 questions and 3 guides to discern the difference between personal preference and God’s commands, written by Lyneta Smith
- “Refuse Hardness of Heart with a PASSION, Part 1” – 5 consequences of hardness of heart that motivate us to have faith, written by Katy Kauffman
- “Refuse Hardness of Heart with a PASSION, Part 2” – 4 ways to remedy hardness of heart and unbelief
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