Family Bible Study Lesson for March 4: Bringing Others to Jesus : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
October 30 2003 by William (Mac) McElrath

Family Bible Study Lesson for March 4: Bringing Others to Jesus : Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003

Family Bible Study Lesson for March 4: Bringing Others to Jesus

By William (Mac) McElrath
Mark 2:1-12
As a Sunday School teacher I've always written lots of cards and letters to members of my class. Most of the messages have been simple: Happy birthday, sorry to hear you're sick, we missed you last Sunday. But a letter written 20 years ago to a teenager in Indonesia had an unexpected result.

A new boy turned up in my class one Sunday. Betty and I had known his family when he was a child, but we had since lost track of him. After a visit in his home, he started asking some serious questions.

A few days later we met by appointment. Then and there that 15-year-old gave his life to the Lord Jesus. Earnestly he prayed for his parents, his brother and sisters. When he made public profession of his faith, two other teenage boys followed him down the aisle from the back pew where they had all been sitting together.

I asked the new believer why he had suddenly reappeared and started attending Sunday School. Flashing his eager grin, he said, "At another guy's house I saw a letter you'd written him. I decided I'd go to your class whether he did or not."

That "other guy" was a church and school dropout who later moved away. What if I had given up on him before writing that one last letter?

When Betty and I went back to Indonesia a year ago, one of the young adults who greeted us warmly was the boy who had responded to an invitation addressed to someone else. He and his wife and child are now building a new Christian home.

There are many ways of bringing people to Jesus. I used one way; four friends who lived in Galilee long ago used another. What method are you using?

Determination: The four friends

(Mark 2:1-5)

Perhaps, like me and many others, you've known this Bible story all your life. I couldn't have been more than 5 the first time I remember helping act it out in Sunday School.

What determination those four friends showed! When they couldn't get through the door to the house where Jesus was, they climbed up to the flat roof. What they did next is easier explained to Indonesian than to American pupils, because roofs in Indonesia - like roofs in Palestine long ago - are fairly easy to open up and then repair again.

When they had lowered their friend on the mat where he lay paralyzed, notice that "Jesus saw their faith" (v. 5). It was the determined faith of all five of them that caused Him to declare, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

Antagonism: The religious leaders

(Mark 2:6-9)

Jesus' words stirred up a hornets' nest of criticism. Teachers of the law were sitting there watching. These religious leaders felt that Jesus was claiming powers properly exercised only by God.

They were also thinking: "It's easy enough to say that this man's sins have been forgiven. Who can see whether his sins have really been forgiven or not? In the mean time, the poor fellow still lies there paralyzed."

Authority: The Son of Man

(Mark 2:10-12)

As He often has a way of doing, Jesus then brought out into the open the thoughts that were rankling in human hearts. To those antagonized religious leaders He said, in effect, "I accept your unspoken challenge. I will prove to you that as the Son of Man (a Messianic title He often used for Himself) I have authority to do what I am doing."

Notice that Jesus did things in the right order. (Mark 7:37 says that Jesus did "everything well.") The paralyzed man's greatest problem was spiritual, not physical. First, in response to the faith shown both by the man himself and by his four friends, Jesus forgave the man's sins. Only after that did He heal the man's wasted body.

Mark 2:12 stresses that this was not a miracle performed in a corner. Everybody there that day saw the healed paralytic get up, pick up his mat, and walk away. No wonder "this amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, 'We have never seen anything like this!'" (NIV)

How do you suppose the four friends felt that day?

How do you suppose Betty and I felt last year when we saw our former pupil as the sturdy head of a young Christian family?

How do you suppose you will feel when you experience the joy of bringing others to Jesus?

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by William (Mac) McElrath | with 0 comments

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