Re-Birth and New-Life in Christ
Here is a familiar old Bible Story, here now presented as a ‘Parable,’ where we take an event and develop its Spiritual Application. Mark Chapter 2, giving us the short version, so let us tell the longer edition. Now in the usually quiet seaside town of Capernaum lived a wee family, hubby who had been very sick for a very long time, and he was now totally bed bound, actually he lay on his mat in the lounge to watch the kids playing, (actually so the kids could watch dad, as mum desperately tried single handedly to keep things afloat.) Door knock and in sweeps his four good friends, quick greetings, how are you, not bad, well not that good, I need to see Jesus right now, you mean right away? The four corners of his mat were grasped instantly, flying him up and over the heads of the startled children playing on the floor, the door bumps shut, silence, dad is gone.
Down the street they sweep, just head towards the crowd, and there is Jesus, round the corner, and stop, people as far as the eye can see, no way through there, a quick about-turn, squeeze down a walkway between two houses, sharp turn down the back behind them, another sharp turn and cut across the street into the laneways on the opposite side and up behind the house Jesus is preaching in, a quick grasp of two coils of rope hanging on a wall, just might need them, up to the back of the house. Up the steep narrow stone stairs, plop their friend on the roof, and as rope is tied securely to the corners of his mat, quick hands dexterously remove roof tiles, and peer on in, that certainly made a nice cool breeze. No time to waste, feed him in feet first, lower away, and in moments there he his right there in front of Jesus, delivered promptly and on time, gently swaying, suspended between heaven and earth, deathly silence pervades.
So sorry to drop in unannounced like this, but kinda urgently need your help, you see my past sinful life has finally caught up with me, and I am about to die, and in this situation I am in no fit state to stand before God, so would you possibly know of somebody who could sort this mess out for me and forgive me; well I just think I might know a chap who can, how about, Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Oh, by the way is there anything else I can help out with? Woah, Back this up a bit here now Jesus, we are having no end of troubles since John the Baptist has been down there at the Jordan, baptizing and washing repented sin away, and now we are being flooded with “Them,” coming into our Synagogues and lowering the standards, so now as the political banter swayed back and forth, our ‘one sick of the palsy’ just swayed in his bed, bathing in the cleansing flood of forgiveness, with his four friends beaming and smiling down from above, but that is until Jesus turned and looked down at him, swaying there at waist height, by the way old chap, we know how you got in here, but how are you ever going to get out of here again and back home? Had not thought about that, have you any ideas? Well, how about this one, Mark 2:11 “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”
In seconds, the creative power of the Creator God has in his word, flooded in the New-Life, and in much like in, ‘The Valley of Dry Bones,’ the dead is alive, there is tissue, muscles, youth, vitality, strength, a re-Birth, blink and you just missed it. I think I’d like to do that very much, I have a family to see, and a wife that needs a very big apology, well so sorry to rush off like this, but I have places to go, bye now. Swinging his new powerful legs over he stood for the first time in ages, strong and steady, the ropes are deftly removed and disappear up through the gaping hole in the roof, clatter and clunk, roofing tiles return, all is as it were before, bed roll mat is scooped up, excuse me, excuse me, as he steps over and between people, out the door, excuse me, as he pressed through the crowds, the crowd thins, and he is sprinting, going home. The four friends quickly return the roof to as it was before, the rope is re-coiled and returned to its peg on the wall, and they are off at a run, but they can hear from the shouts of joy from their friend, that he has left them well in his dust.
Panting and sweating they finally burst through the front door, and there the family is sitting on the sofa all cuddled up, beaming, smiling, a new man with a new life, what took you so long fellas, thanks so very much, and so joy and gratitude, praise and fellowship flow so easily. Luke 15:4-7 “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found [it], he layeth [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbour’s, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” His wife wiggles in his strong embrace, then looks him straight in the eyes and says, you know that we have your funeral all ready, why not call everyone together right now and have an “Un-Funeral,” for my husband which was dead is now very much alive, and so the neighbour’s brought their food and spread it out on the long table in the side yard under the Grape Arbor, and just as the party and celebration was about to launch, there was a loud knock on the door, so sorry to interrupt the celebration but I was trying to locate an old friend that grew up in this very home, well that’s me, I inherited when mum and dad passed a few years ago, wait, you must be, yes it is, your parent were going to build right across the street on that big vacant plot, but then we lost touch, and it has been vacant ever since, come on in, celebrate with us, a long lost friend has been found, and so long into the night praises and joy rang out.
The next morning, a sleepy group gathered around for breakfast from the heaping piles of left-overs, there was food everywhere, and even with each guest taking home lots, there was still plenty left here. The kids were glued to their new dad, full of life and strength, he turns to his old friend and asks for an update. Dad bought right across the road from you so that we could be home all the time, either me at your home or you at my home, then dad got an exciting business opportunity, and as we had already sold our existing home, we left quickly, and the section across the road from you was forgotten, well until now, I need to sell it, have no need for it, and I do no really need the money. Got any suggestions; Well how about this then, we buy it and build a church or meeting place as the Synagogue is not very welcoming to us repentant and saved sinners, saw that loudly yesterday at my miracle healing; no absolutely not possible, cannot do anything like that, for it is my gift to you all, was hoping something good would come out of this, and so it sure did.
Say, what business are you in? Oh, we make a “Nu-Style Roof Tile,” you know how the current ones can lift off so easily, and four heads nod knowingly, well we have developed a new one that is way more stable, seals better from wind and rain, and even has a couple of lugs in the back as tie down points when in exposed and windy places. Actually we are just about to build a new factory in the area, need to expand, need new materials, and then it dawned on me, remember as kids, we went back into the hills and up there was that abandoned farm, but the clay was great for making figurines, and we made buildings and warriors and stuff in the little creek that ran through the middle of the farm, well that is what drew me back, a quick check yesterday, the clay is still good, plenty of volume for us, so I am buying them out this morning, and Oh and you had better come along as well as I need a witness for me, and then you will need to collect the title for the land for your new chapel right across the street. Business done, and lunch, well leftovers again, and new friends and old friends make new connections. Say what business are you in, what do you do, or plan to do with your new life? Had not thought that far ahead, this new life is speeding on so fast, it was today that I was planned to be laid dead in the cemetery, but here I am very much alive with great friends and amazing family, got a suggestion then? Well with the expansion of our business in “Nu-Style Roof Tile,” we need some reliable and good men, know anybody? And so it was, this became very true, 1 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Jesus brought a new life, and sins, which are many, are forgiven and all washed away, a life is brand new both physically and in every other way, and now a productive business employment opportunity, could not get any better than that.And so it was; now you all know that the road through Capernaum is a long one, with that dog leg kink in the middle, well it is there at that corner of the road, there as you come closer towards the lake, and you get the first glimpse of lake between the houses, there on that slight bend, as the roads vias slightly to your left, it is there right in front of you on the right, where that old empty section stood for ages, right there at that corner stands a lovely new Chapel, with a large vaulted sea of “Nu-Style Roof Tile,” on the roof, not that easy to lift off, and very secure. Ask those about, and they will warn you against ever going there as scarry things regularly happen, Luke 7:22 “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” Do not ever go there if you ever want to keep your sin, for they will have you looking unto Jesus, and you will be repenting, converted and saved, and coming out brand new, a new birth, old things passed away and all things becoming new, healed and restored and forgiven. So, each Sabbath, where the meeting starts real early and finishes very late in the afternoon; prayer is heard, testimonies, witnessing, songs and hymns of praise, prayer and anointing sessions, scripture is recited and sung, the shackles of sin and degradation break under the power of God, re-birth and new-life, and on the service goes, and as noon approaches, hampers and baskets appear, fellowship meal is shared, more songs and prayer sessions, as a whole or as small groups at times, and as the day closes, happy, healed, restored and forgiven, the people head home, beware if you ever enter here, as you will never come out the same, cause you will definitely meet Jesus in the acts and actions of those who press in, Mark 2:17 “When Jesus heard [it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Yes, the big Synagogue in town is still full, but it is hard to see Jesus in there, nobody there has ever been saved or healed, do try the Chapel up the road, that is where things really happen, lives change, meet Jesus there for a “Re-Birth and a New-Life in Christ.” Oh, and if you do not believe me, well then just cross the street to the home there and ask the crippled man, he will tell you all about it, maybe a little sprinting race first, think you can beat a poor old crippled man??