Today’s Reading: Mark 2
I’ve never played poker in my life. I’m not saying that to sound righteous or religious, I’m just saying it. That being said, I had to google if four of a kind beat a full house. It does. That’s our story today.
I want to show you this concept in Mark 2 in which two things are competing. In one verse we find a full house and in another verse we find four of a kind. (And remember, four of a kind always beat a full house.)
When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. (Mark 2:1-2)
There is the full house. The full house didn’t do anything for a paralyzed man. The full house sat listening to Jesus but that did not fix the paralysis. The four of a kind was about to show up in verse 3. A paralyzed man did not need people just sitting there. He needed someone to get him to Jesus.
Mr. Rogers, an ordained minister and the famous host of one of the first shows for children on television back in the 1970s, once said, “When I was a child and my mother and I would read about such events in the newspapers or see them in newsreels, she used to tell me, ‘Always look for the helpers. There’s always someone who is trying to help.’”
I want to be one of the “helpers.” Don’t you? One of the four of a kind.
They came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:3-5)
Do you have friends who will get you to Jesus? If not, then you need new friends. They may be able to get you to a golf course, get you to a sports game, get you to a concert, or get you to a club or a bar. But do you have anyone who gets you to Jesus? These four got the sick man to Jesus.
There are times you are meant to bear another’s stretcher and not just sit and hear the Word. You must not only carry your Bible to church; at times, you may also need to carry your brother or sister to the Lord. Our problem here in Mark 2 is we have a full house but only four people who were carrying the stretcher. Not many left the full house to help another. How did they do it? When doors are shut, they went higher!
The four of a kind could not get through the door. So they had to take it up higher, literally, to the roof. There is a good principle we need to learn from the actions of these four men: when it seems like the door is shut, go higher.
Problems are surmountable from above. You can’t solve everything by walking through a door of a doctor’s office or a church. You have to take some things higher.
Going up higher means getting it to Jesus. It’s prayer! As Watchman Nee said, “Our prayers lay the track down on which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, His power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.”
These men didn’t quit when they saw the full house. They carried him to the roof, removed the shingles, and dug, and then they had to connect ropes to lower him down.
Jesus did not see roof busters, He saw their faith (verse 5). Always remember—when you go higher, you get more than you asked for.
That’s the twist in the story. They went through all this work to get a paralyzed man in front of Jesus and Jesus did not say, “Be healed!” or “Rise up and walk!” He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Had I done all that work, His words would have taken the air out of me. I would have wanted my buddy to walk. I might have thought, I didn’t do all this for an inside work, but for an outside thing.
You can’t have Jesus for only what you want. If you want Jesus, you get all of Him. He is not some buffet line that you pick and choose and say, “I’ll take the Sermon on the Mount and healing when I am sick, but not the holiness and hell stuff. Tithing? Yuck. Love your neighbor. Okay, but only if they are lovable.”
Had Jesus just said, “Take up your pallet and walk,” everyone would have been happy. But it’s all or nothing with Jesus. That is why I don’t think He told the man to arise first but focused on forgiveness first.
I’m no gambler, but I’d take four of a kind over a full house—with all of Jesus—any day.