My meditations on a sermon preached by Bishop Howard Bass of The Destiny Center:
Jesus, sitting in a room, maybe even standing- teaching, ministering under the anointing, doing what he's always done before. In his presence are the hungry and the thirsty, pressing into him for their every need, their every desire, hearing a sound from his mouth and feeling the deepest parts of their every longing met.
Also around him are the religious, the deceptive and all of those with motives to corner him and trap him. One wrong word and they've got him! They fill every part of the room. There's standing room only and even those standing are pressing against one another- each trying to move closer inching in for every available space and slowly filling it, ensuring they are the ones to receive what they came for.
Along come four men, carrying a friend- a friend that once moved with ease and agility but is now paralyzed, his paralysis from injury keeping him from moving forward. He wants to get up but somehow he can't. He is blocked. He is dysfunctional. His brain says yes but his body says no and so there he is, collapsed into the only place he has found for himself- his bed! There he lies day by day on his bed with no energy, no ability and no will. Outside there is also a press at every window and doorway- crowds and lines of people pressing each other on every side and blocking the way. No one can get in and no one wants to get out! Now what? His friends have brought him this far through the streets and to the house just to have their dreams crushed? No! Their expectation is to see their friend get up. Here is the man that can help! Here is their only hope! They've come this far¸ carrying their friend, knowing they would be able to walk in as four men carrying another but walk out as 5 friends, all on their feet together! They will not be stopped. They look around for another answer. One of them gazes up and gives voice to the thought that passes through his mind, "What about the roof." There's no one blocking the passage to the roof. No one cares. Everyone is there for themselves- to each his own! There's no answer on the roof. The roof has no entrance. The roof is nothing more than a blockage to keep the rain out. The roof is a covering for the place they want to be. The roof is a blockage, not a passage. No one wants to go to the roof. They can't hear the master through the roof and they can't find a good place to rest on the roof that gets them close to the master that can fill their every longing. The friends pick up the stretcher once again and head for the passage and when they make it to the roof- tired, panting, sweating and breathless, they lay the friend beside them, ensuring his safety and they begin to dig. They tear into the surface, knowing that if there is no passage, they'll make one. They will not be denied what they came for even if it means they do the unthinkable- dig through the construction of another man's house, but it's worth the risk. It's the only way. All other ways have been exhausted. They may be accused of vandalism. They may be met with opposition. Surely there will be accusation and wrong assumptions but it's their only hope and their expectations are high. They know he has what they need if they can only get beside him. A hole in the roof can be tended to but they need answers and they need them now! They dig and dig and dig and suddenly they see glimpses of the inside. Their calculations are confirmed. The master is just below. Having carefully chosen their position they begin to clear the way and they lower their friend, right in front of the master. The entire atmosphere changes as the master sets eyes on the scene in front of him. The one who changes has been changed. His plans have changed. His eyes and thoughts have been redirected to this team of 5 rebels who refuse to be denied. Those competing for position are angered and appalled. They are burning with envy and even hatred. They begin to devise plans of what they will say. Others are amazed and just stare in awe of the scene that is playing out before their eyes. The master, seeing the expectation and faith of these men begins to address the one on the stretcher. He explains his condition is not because of sin. He says, "Your sins are forgiven you. Stop thinking that way!" The religious men with only their own selfish desire for position, power, authority and recognition say in their minds but not out loud, "What right does he have to say this! How can he forgive sins. He is blaspheming!" They're glad they've finally caught him in something they can hold against him. The master hears their thoughts- not their words. He knows by the Spirit what they are thinking. The master brings peace yet these men want to strive. The man on the stretcher is sincere in his search yet these men are deceptive and self seeking, even self exalting and surely self-preserving. Instead of arguing, the master begins to demonstrate. He doesn't demonstrate with a magic wand or even his hands but he demonstrates with the power of his words and with authority! He says, "So you may know the son of man has power and authority to forgive," and he says to the paralytic, "Arise and walk. Take up your bed and go your way!" With just one Word spoken from the master, the brain and body begin to function again! The man who was stuck in his place can move again! That which was blocking him and had been stopping him no longer had any power over him. The expectations of the friends were not disappointed. The ones willing to crawl, carry a load with and of their friend, and peel their way through the roof and make space in a place that had no space, changed everything. They redirected the attention of the master, stirred up even more envy and anger among the haters, stunned the onlookers and ignited the anointing of the one with the answers- and saw him do what he had never done before! Everything in their world changed in a moment! They got what they came for and went forward, not only having received all they came for but became a walking talking bible for generations to come!" Expectation that changed an atmosphere and was not disappointed!" (Amen, my morning meditation of a sermon delivered yesterday by Howard Bass- preaching from Mark 2)