The Power of “Immediately”
PRAY: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
READ: Mark 2:1-12
We live in a world so high-tech, cell phones are “Smart” and everything from Sunday morning messages to presidential addresses are live-streamed. Communication between friends happens within seconds thanks to text messages and a growing nation of quick thumbs. We want everything in life ASAP or sooner!
During biblical times, everything moved slow but the relevance was always monumental. Instagram didn’t advance photo images of Jesus, nor was there a twitter feed to alert the masses that the Son of God was scheduled to appear. I believe it was a big deal to both see and hear Jesus and the Gospel of Mark illustrates the remarkable crowds who endured the trek based upon word of mouth:
2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them (Mark 2:2).
Upon further reading, it is evident that the Gospel of Mark is a book of action that concentrates more on what Jesus did versus what he said: teaching, healing, rebuking, ministering and making disciples. It is also the shortest of the four Gospels but sufficiently depicts Jesus’ ministry as one that is public and exhibits his divine power over disease, nature, demons, and even death.
Mark 2:3-4 tells the story of four friends determined to have their paralytic friend be seen up close and personal by Jesus:
3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
These four friends were determined. They saw that the crowd was too robust to breakthrough and windows weren’t an option—so they broke through the roof. Can you imagine the time exhausted or the labor endured? The necessary commitment to stay on task? It may not have been easy, but these friends demonstrated unwavering faith and it is that faith that provoked Jesus to “immediately” move on their behalf:
5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-6)
In Mark 2:2-12, the word “immediately” is used three times. This is a miraculous sequence of time during an age that depended on a donkey’s trot for speed.
8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? … He said to the paralytic,
11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
The crowd murmured and revealed doubt following the words and deeds of Jesus. In their eyes, only God had the authority and power to forgive sin. Who does Jesus think he is? God? Yes, the fact is that Jesus has all authority to forgive sin because all sin is actually against Him.
Demonstrating our faith through prayer and then waiting on God to act are two of the most challenging aspects of being a Christian. Sometimes we treat God like a high-tech Smart phone that’s loaded with a spiritual APP. We want to dial a prayer and receive an immediate breakthrough.) The Gospel of Mark teaches us that our level of faith (and how God perceives it) are directly related. Jesus is our divine Intercessor, and God is immediately glorified each time we acknowledge this truth.
- What level of sacrifice would you exhibit to prove yourself a faithful friend?
- Why do you think the word “immediate” was so integral in the Gospel of Mark?
- Have you ever questioned God when your prayers are not answered in the time or the way you would like?
This week's devotional is written by Penny Dickerson. Penny is a City Church Owner who serves on our Guest Services Team. She is also a professional journalist.