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Jesus' Authority Established

(Mark 2:3-12; 3:1-5)

Lesson 3 -- second quarter 1998
March 15, 1998

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

Five friends--four walking, one riding. Five friends--four well, one ill. Five friends--four determined, one counting on their determination. Five friends--faithful and full of faith.

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick...." Did you catch that?! When the Lord saw their faith, not just the faith of the sick one. In other words, this man's healing depended on the faith of his friends as much as it depended on his own faith. How would you like to be thus dependent on the faith of another? And is your own faith strong enough to sustain another?

As we consider faith issues we need to realize that faith alone just won't do. Faith must have a proper focus and foundation. When faith is properly grounded and directed, the initial amount of faith isn't so significant. Why? Because the Object of that faith will honor that little bit of initial faith and will cause it to grow and grow. To show this, I have blended two verses below; I encourage you to read the original verses in their context:

"Have faith as a grain of mustard seed, which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree" (Luke 17:6; Matthew 13:32).

Praise the Lord, He honors our faith in Him! I am again encouraged by the realization that He works with our faith and with us right where we are. So frequently it seems my faith is unimpressive and minuscule, and I lose heart quite readily. At precisely such times I should make sure that tiny little bit of faith remains concentrated on the Lord. Giving up on Him, on myself and on my faith will keep Him from turning my mustard seed into a tree.

As we ponder today's lesson, let's take to heart the account of these five friends. I challenge us to focus our faith on the Lord Jesus. I challenge us to have the kind of faith that will sustain us...and others. And I challenge us to develop friends upon whose faith we can safely depend.

"When Jesus saw their faith," He did something. He began where they were in relation to Him, and moved forward with them. That was one group of individuals. This lesson also presents a second group of folks. And with them, as with the first, Jesus acted. "When Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves," He tried to move forward with them also. He knew the questions resounding in their hearts, and He graciously set up a test to address those questions.

If He successfully passed the test, Jesus would simultaneously honor the faith of the first group and address the reasonings of the second. The test? Heal the sick man as proof of His power to forgive sins. What a test! I certainly wish I knew what went through the minds of those present.

We know the results well. Jesus passed the test. The sick man passed the test also. Huh?! Yes, the sick man passed the test also. You see, he still needed to have faith. And after Jesus raised the ante so high ("If I can heal him, I have power to forgive sins"), the sick man needed to maintain his faith. So Jesus established His credentials, the sick man got to walk again, and all the witnesses looked on in amazement and glorified God. All because of faith properly placed.

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