Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World

Intercessory Prayer (Seminar)

July 19, 2020 Pastor Dave Tucker Season 4 Episode 7
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Intercessory Prayer (Seminar)
Chapters
Spiritual Living in a Chaotic World
Intercessory Prayer (Seminar)
Jul 19, 2020 Season 4 Episode 7
Pastor Dave Tucker

What barriers are you willing to tear down to get your friends and loved ones to the feet of Jesus? 

This podcast is based on Mark 2:1-12 and was originally presented 7/19/2020 at St. Timothy Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  

Show Notes Transcript

What barriers are you willing to tear down to get your friends and loved ones to the feet of Jesus? 

This podcast is based on Mark 2:1-12 and was originally presented 7/19/2020 at St. Timothy Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  

INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Mark 2:1-12

Let’s unpack this passage, together shall we? Jesus was in Capernaum and word got out before he even arrived. Jesus was in the height of his ministry. The stories of how he cured the sick, cast out demons and spoke wonderful words of a new kingdom spread like wildfire.  Scripture isn’t very clear about whose house Jesus was staying in, but the entire town of Capernaum knew and they showed up in droves! There was a man who was afflicted with paralysis whom, I am certain, heard the stories of Jesus and knew that Jesus was coming to town. “Maybe, just maybe…” I can hear him say to himself. “Awwww, who am I kidding! I will never be able to see Jesus, there will be too many people… and besides, I have no one to take me to him.” 

Just then his front door flies open and his friends and neighbors come rushing into this man’s home! Again, scripture is not very clear about how many friends showed up, we do know that there was at least four. “Man! Don’t ya’ll believe in knocking” I can hear him say, (He was a Texas Capernaunite, that’s why he said ‘ya’ll’) One of his friends, ignoring his protest, said, “Where have you been! Haven’t you heard? Jesus is in town and we are here to take you to Him for a healin’ (He too was a Texas Capernaunite, that’s why he said ‘healin’) Another one of his friends excitedly exclaimed, “Yeah, we need our ‘ol fishin’ buddy back.” (This friend also was a Texas Capernaunite, that’s why he said ‘ol ‘fishin buddy’)

And just like that, these friends and neighbors picked up their friend who was afflicted with paralysis and carried him out the door and down the street! I can see a smile spread across the face of the man afflicted with paralysis. His heart was filled with hope and joy. He was grateful for his friends, he was excited that Jesus could heal him… then, the smile left his face… Why would Jesus heal him? He was a sinner, he didn’t live the best life. When he could walk, he could often be seen around the bars with his buddies. He would sometimes get drunk and tell inappropriate jokes. He would often be hung over Sabbath mornings and would make excuses to miss going to the synagogue. For all he knew, God was punishing him for his sinfulness. Perhaps his paralysis was God visiting judgement on him. Why WOULD Jesus heal him?! He looked around with a concerned look on his face. His eyes caught the eyes of one of his friends, who grinned at him and winked.

Once they got to the house where Jesus was staying, the small group stopped… the crowd was so heavy that they could not hear Jesus, let alone see him. This band of friends were faced with a dilemma. There were two obvious solutions here, an either/or scenario. Either they could push through the crowd and bring their friend to Jesus, OR they could turn around and take their friend back home and wait for the crowd do disperse. “Well, at least we tried,” said the man afflicted with paralyses. “No, this is not over!” One of his friends retorted! And the group of friends discussed their either/or options. Suddenly, one of the man’s friends had a eureka moment! He had discovered a THIRD option! They laid the man afflicted with paralysis on a bench, and one of them said, “Don’t go anywhere! We’ll be right back.” The irony of that statement made the man afflicted with paralysis laugh.

One of his friends ran home for a ladder, another friend ran to get some rope, while other friends ran to get tools. Meanwhile, the man afflicted with paralysis is laying there and watched people walk by staring at the spectacle of this random guy, on a mat, lying on a bench. Before long, however, the friends all returned and once again, he was hoisted up, mat and all and heading toward the house. A few of the friends climbed to the top of the house with tools and a few of the friends used the rope to tie off the ends of the man’s mat. Before the man afflicted with paralysis could say “Ummm, Whatch y’all doin?” he was being lifted up to the roof of the house.

“You guys are crazy!” I can hear him say as they take the tools to tear away the roof. Meanwhile, inside, everyone is hearing the noise on the roof. Jesus had stopped teaching, and everyone was watching in amazement as the roof came away and sunlight began streaming in from where there was once a covering. Then, there was a gasp as all inside the house saw a man in a mat being lowered from the new skylight. Jesus stood up just as the man, afflicted with paralysis gently came to a landing on the floor right at the feet of Jesus. Jesus looked at the man afflicted with paralysis at his feet, to the man on the mat, it felt like Jesus knew everything about him, which both brought peace and fear to him all at the same time. Jesus, looked up and shielded his eyes to see all of the man’s friends peering down from the opening in the roof. Jesus’ reaction is interesting and it bears noticing. Scripture says that Jesus was first moved by the faith of the friends, looking down, from the opening in the roof. Then Jesus does something else unexpected. I can see him stooping down by the mat of the man affected by paralysis, and, looking into his eyes, tells the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” At that moment a wave of emotion washes over this man! Jesus forgave him! Maybe God forgives him too. 

There were some in the crowd who, scripture says, sat there “questioning in their hearts.” “Who can forgive sins but God? Why is Jesus speaking blasphemy?” Jesus, knowing their hearts, asked an interesting question, “Which is easier, to say to this man, ‘your sins are forgiven?’ Or to say, ‘Stand up, take up your mat and walk?” Then Jesus looked at the man on the mat, “Stand up, take up your mat, and walk.” Which is exactly what the man did! And everyone in the house was amazed and glorified God.

Looking back at this story, there are several different people we could possibly relate to. Perhaps you are like the man on the mat, you are going through difficult times. Perhaps you believe that God is punishing you because you have sinned. You need friends to come alongside you and lead you to Jesus. All you really need to hear is, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Can I say right here and now? If that is you? As sure as I am standing here today, because of the gift of Jesus, we can all ask God for forgiveness and in that very moment we can stand boldly before God justified… Just-if-I’d (never sinned) There is nothing we can do to make God stop loving us! 

Perhaps you are like the friends of the man afflicted with paralysis. We have been taking our friends, family members, children, grandchildren, to the throne of God. We have been interceding on their behalf and it seems like our prayers sometimes don’t get past the roof. I have a word for you. Pray harder! Raise the roof and remove the barriers that are standing between your loved ones and Jesus. In prayer we need to tear away those barriers! Intercessory prayer does at least two things; it changes us, and it gives the Holy Spirit permission to work. 

There are PEOPLE who become barriers. I know that no one here or watching online can identify with being barriers. We become barriers when we don’t show the love and Grace of God. We start arguments on Facebook or in person. We look at the person on the side of the road begging for money. We judge them and tell ourselves, It’s their fault that they are here. If I give money, they’ll just use it on drugs. Or, we look at others and say to ourselves, “this person has sinned beyond the reach of God’s grace.” Yet as I read my Bible, we are ALL sinners saved under the same umbrella of God’s grace.

         My question to you this morning is this, Who are the people in your life that lay heavy on your heart? Our journal prompt for this week is to write down a prayer for that person. If there are several people in your life that weigh heavy on your heart, write a separate prayer for each of them. They don’t have to be long and eloquent. Just something short… between you and God. You see, it’s so easy to tell someone that we are praying for them and then walk away and not give it a second thought. Writing down prayers for those in our lives creates intentionality and helps us to remember. What are we doing to tear down barriers that are keeping our loved ones from having an encounter with Jesus? It is my prayer that we identify what those barriers are and tear through heaven and hell to get those whom we love right to the feet of Jesus.