Story - Jimmy's amazing healing.
Jimmy woke up and groaned "Oh no" he said, "It was only a dream." In his dream Jimmy had been having a great time running and jumping about in the hills above Capernaum. Jimmy had groaned because this was something that he couldn't do now. When he was much younger there was nothing that Jimmy liked better than to explore the hills above his home town, but then, little by little, his whole body began to get stiffer and stiffer until it reached the point where he couldn't even climb out of his bed mat on his own. He was completely paralysed.
Bad as things were for Jimmy, they could have been worse, because he had four good friends who came to visit him every day, do his housework, and sometimes carry him out on his mat to go for a picnic. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"Come in" called Jimmy, and his four friends, Joe, Matt, Andy and Pete entered his house.
"You look rather glum" said Joe. "Is anything wrong?"
Jimmy told his friends about the dream he had just had. "That is something that I will never be able to do again" he concluded.
"We believe you will" declared Matt. "We believe that God will heal you, and you will then be able to do all the running and jumping you like."
Jimmy replied, "I do believe God does heal people, but if He was going to heal me, I am sure He would have done it a long time ago."
"No, you don't understand" said Andy "Jesus, who people say is the Christ, sent from God, is here in Capernaum. In fact he is having a meeting in a house just down the road. We believe that if we take you to Jesus, he will heal you."
"I am not so sure of that" replied Jimmy.
"Just trust us" said Pete.
And so Jimmy's four friends carried the paralysed man, on his mat, down the road to the house where Jesus was. But when they got there Jimmy groaned "I knew this was no good, you will never be able to get me anywhere near Jesus with all this crowd." Jimmy had a point. Jesus was so popular, that the whole house was crammed full of people. Those who couldn't get in were trying to peer through the windows or push their way in through the door.
"We're not giving up now" said Joe. "I have a plan."
Jimmy lay back on his mat and watched in amazement as his friends carried him round to the back of the house, climbed up the stairs onto the roof and began to pull up the roof tiles.
"What on earth will the owner of this house think" thought Jimmy, as the hole in the roof got larger and larger. "We will all get in big trouble."
Soon the hole was large enough, and the four men lowered Jimmy, still on his mat, down through the hole, right to where Jesus was teaching the crowd.
"Oh no" thought Jimmy. "It is me that will get in trouble for that hole, because I am down here and my friends are still on the roof." But suddenly Jimmy cheered up. Jesus was looking straight at him, and was smiling. He didn't seem to mind about the hole. Jimmy thought "I think I am going to be healed after all. Jesus will probably heal me and tell me to get up and walk."
But Jesus looked at Jimmy and said, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
Jimmy groaned. "What have my sins got to do with anything. Doesn't Jesus realise that I am here because I need to be healed?" But Jesus doesn't make mistakes. He knew the paralysed man needed to be healed, but he saw an even greater need - to have his sins forgiven and get right with God.
Suddenly there was a distraction. Some of the religious leaders in the crowd became angry with Jesus, thinking to themselves "Only God can forgive sins. Jesus is making himself equal with God by telling this man that his sins are forgiven."
But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He turned to them and said "What is easier for me to say 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Take up your mat and walk'? But I have said this that you may know that I have authority on earth to forgive sins." Wow, there Jesus went again, claiming equality with God.
Jesus turned back to the paralytic and said "Take up your mat and walk." Jimmy felt strength seep into his whole body. He began to move his arms and legs. He sat up, then stood up. He picked up his mat and walked out - to the thunderous applause and cries of amazement from the crowd.
Note. You can read this story in your Bibles. It is found in Mark, chapter 2 verses 1 to 12.
When the four friends lowered the paralytic through the hole in the roof, the Bible says "When Jesus saw their faith, he said "Son your sins are forgiven" and then later on "Take up your mat and walk."
What does the Bible mean by saying 'their' faith? That's right. Jesus saw the faith of the paralytic's four friends. The man was forgiven and healed because of his friends' faith. We can bring our friends to Jesus today - through prayer - and ask Him to meet their needs, if we have a determined, confident faith in Jesus, that He will do what He has promised to do.
What does the Bible mean by saying Jesus 'saw' their faith? How can you see faith? Surely faith is something inside us. Isn't It what we believe? Yes, it certainly is what we believe, but if our faith is genuine, our words and actions will reflect what we believe. Jesus saw what those men did. He saw the great efforts they had gone to get their friend to him. And that is the sort of determined, stop at nothing, faith that Jesus rewards. If we really believe Jesus will meet our needs or the needs of our friends or relatives, then we will be like those four men and our words and actions will match up to what we believe.
Illusion - All wrongdoing is serious.
Many people tend to categorise sin (wrongdoing) into big sins (e.g. murder) and little sins (e.g. a lie). Here is an illustrations to demonstrate that in God's sight all sin is serious.
Hold in one hand a crumpled piece of paper, and in the other a small but heavy object (e.g. a battery). Tell your friends that the paper represents what many people think of as "little" sins like lying and swearing, and that the heavy object represents what many think of as "big" sins like murder and robbery. State that you are going to drop both objects to the floor at the same time. Askyour friends which object they think will reach the floor first? Most will say the heavy object.
Drop both objects. They will reach the floor at the same time. (You may wish to repeat the exercise). State that sin is like that to God. The lighter or smaller sins are just as serious to Him as the weightier ones, for all wrongdoing is sin (see 1 John 5 v. 17).
Your questions answered - Do all religions lead to God?
Some people think that if a person is sincere in following their religion it will eventually lead them to God - no matter which religion they are actually following. Thus they may be Christian, Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, or something else. You can imagine God at the top of a mountain with many paths leading up to him. Although the paths start at different points, they all eventually lead to God.
Contrast this idea, however, with what Jesus said. He said "I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father, except by me. (John 14 v. 6). Note that Jesus said "I am the way" He didn't say "I am a way" He said "I am the way." Thus it is abundantly clear that Jesus claimed to be the only way to God.
What it comes down to is: Who are you going to believe? Jesus, the Son of God, or mere humans who don't know everything and often make mistakes.
Laugh break - A Children funny.
"Teacher," announced little Joey, "there's somethin' I can't figger out."
"What's that Joey?" asked the Sunday school teacher.
"Well accordin' to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?"
"An' the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?"
"Er--right.""An' the Children of Israel built the Temple, right?"
"Again you're right."
"An' the Children of Israel fought the 'gyptians, an' the Children of Israel fought the Romans, an' the Children of Israel wuz always doin' somethin' important, right?"
"All that is right, too," agreed the teacher. "So what's your question?"
"What I wanna know is this," demanded Joey. "What wuz all the grown-ups doin'?"