• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

the Healing

Today’s post comes from Mark in Hong Kong.

When I was a young boy I shared a room with my brother. And every night just after we climbed into bed my mother would walk in the room with a soft smile carrying a children’s picture Bible under her arm. The book was thick and heavy, and by then well worn. And inside all of the great stories of the Scriptures were animated by colorful drawings. Every night one of us got to pick a story. My mother would read it to us, while we looked at the picture, and then we would sing a hymn together before the lights went out on that day.

And my favorite story from that big picture Bible is the one our author, Tim Keller, re-tells for us in chapter three of The King’s Cross. It’s the story of the paralytic man being lowered through the roof by his friends (Mark 2). More than 30 years later I have never forgotten that story, most likely because I have never forgotten the picture that went with it. The open roof, the man being lowered by rope, the friends who went to great lengths to get him help, and then Jesus standing on the ground, looking up from the crowds as the paralytic was hoisted downward on his mat. Captivating.

Keller uses this story to expose what he calls our “much bigger problem” – that is the problem of sin. And he does so picking up on Jesus’ initial response to the man who has been lowered before the crowd. Jesus starts, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” That’s not what the man came for, and it startles the crowd. Certainly Jesus is merciful to the man’s physical affliction. He heals him of his paralysis and the man walks away. But he has walked away with something far more beneficial – the forgiveness of sins.

Hearing this story as a kid I focused on the healing, not the forgiveness. And I might be tempted to stay there now, except that I agree with Keller. I’ve got a real jim-dandy of a dilemma, a big nasty problem called sin. Those of you who work with me know it’s real. True, I had this sin problem back during the bedtime Bible stories, but I didn’t realize it was going to get this bad.

So I found myself grateful that very early in The King’s Cross pastor Keller identifies my real problem. Actually, he really doesn’t have a choice. It is not possible to write about Jesus and his cross without writing about sin as our biggest problem. But he pushes us further. Tapping into C.S. Lewis, as pastors are prone to do, Keller wrestles with this Biblical passage in light of a Lewis story and gives us another phrase – “not deep enough.” And he recommends this: Jesus will cut deep in dealing with our sin. He will pull back the scales. As he did with the paralytic he will identify our bigger problem and then he will go deep enough to provide the core healing that is needed.

 

As we reflect on this chapter, intentionally think about this:

1. What is the biggest, darkest, deepest sin you have?

2. Are you willing for Jesus to cut deep – painfully deep – to remove it?

3. Will you sincerely invite him to do so today?

2 Responses

  1. Thanks Mark for sharing. This chapter was a good one, I especially liked the idea of deep helping in this chapter. He comments that all that Jesus touches is made well, so even though the cuts are deep the cutting pain is worth it. Healing can only come when we allow Jesus to do what is necessary. Like all of us, Eustes (spelling) was afraid of the removal of the scales because it was terribly painful, but in the end he wanted the healing more, which meant complete surrender.

    • The story of Eustace is found in the book, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, in the series The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. It’s a great story with many parallels as you mentioned.

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