Monday: Root Treatment
The paralytic had been lowered into Jesus’ presence, and all eyes were on Jesus. Would He choose to heal an obvious sinner? Would He speak a word to rebuke the illness?
How does Jesus go about healing the paralytic? What is the first thing Jesus does for him? Read Mark 2:5-12.
Because we are often unaware of a disease until we notice the symptoms, we often think of the disease as merely the symptoms. We think that getting rid of the symptoms means healing. Jesus approaches disease differently. He knows the root of all suffering and disease and wants to treat this first.
In the case of the paralytic, instead of immediately treating the obvious effects of his disease, Jesus goes straight to the root of what is bothering the man the most. The paralytic feels the weight of his guilt and separation from God more severely than he feels his disease. A person resting in God is able to endure whatever physical suffering may befall him in this sin-sick world. And so, Jesus goes straight to the root and offers forgiveness first.
The religious leaders are shocked when they hear Jesus pronounce forgiveness. In answer to their unspoken accusations, Jesus poses a question.
Read Mark 2.8-9. What challenge is Jesus giving to the scribes there? What issue is He really dealing with?
Talk is generally cheap, but not when God speaks. By God’s powerful word, all things came into being (Genesis 1). Although forgiveness is not something that we can see, it is costly. Forgiveness cost the life of the Son of God on the cross. Everything else is secondary. To demonstrate the power and reality of forgiveness, Jesus then chooses to heal the paralytic.
God wants to cure us on the inside first. And then sometimes He chooses to bring us immediate physical healing, as with the paralytic, or sometimes we will have to wait for resurrection morning to experience physical healing. Either way, our Savior wants us to be able to rest in the assurance of His love and grace and forgiveness even now, even amid our suffering.
|How can we find rest and peace, even when our prayers for healing are not answered, at least now?|
When I saw the title "Root Treatment" my mind immediately went to root canal treatment. Back in 1969/70, I drove from Perth to Adelaide, as I changed jobs. Another teacher and I took turns to drive non-stop the 3000km journey. I started the trip in good health but somewhere along the way I developed a persistent toothache. At least it kept me awake for the trip. We phoned ahead to the folk we were going to stay with in Adelaide and asked them to find a dentist for me. That was back in the days when there were no cell phone services and we had to use a public phone - and they are few and far between in the Australian desert. We arrived in Adelaide late at night and the next day, Sabbath, I was taken to an Adventist dentist who happened to be a professor of dentistry at the local university. He looked at my tooth, and much to my amazement, told me that he could save the tooth. He explained to me that he was an expert in root canal treatment. I had never heard of it. It was a rather new treatment in those days. An hour and a half later I walked out of his surgery free of pain. The source of the pain had been removed. The job had not been finished there of course. My journey continued on to Melbourne where my new job awaited me and I had to find another dentist who could finish the treatment.
I was looking at an extraction, but the dentist knew the root of the problem and fixed it, not just the pain, but the tooth itself.
Of course, there is a parallel between my tooth experience and the topic of this lesson, but I think you can work that out easily enough.
Maurice, I had a similar experience, with this root canal episode but mine was not as excited as yours. My dentist at the time assured me that he too was experienced in dentistry and in no time root canal problem would be fixed. For the better part of one week I felt the most devastating pain in my life. I had to return to him and commanded him to do an immediate extraction of the tooth that too was another experience. What does this have to do with the lesson?, "And then sometimes He chooses to bring us immediate physical healing, as with the paralytic, or sometimes we will have to wait for resurrection morning to experience physical healing". Our experience differs but the common ground should be at the end of our experience Gods name should be praise despite our pain
Today's lesson states "He (Jesus) knows the root of all suffering and disease and wants to treat this first."
What is the root cause "of all suffering and disease?"
And what is the treatment for this root cause?
The root cause of all suffering and disease is that we are not intimately connected with the Source of Life. Like Adam and Eve, we hide from the presence of God not truly realizing that presence is the only hope of healing and life. We do this because we have fallen for the innuendos and lies of the Great Deceiver.
Hearing of Jesus, the paralytic and his friends came to him with a glimmer of hopeful faith, that is, God was completely different from what their culture and religion had taught them. The faith of these men was abundantly rewarded in the presence of Jesus. Their hearts became one with his, and in that oneness, came healing and new life. In this way, Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. That sin is believing the lies of the Deceiver about God’s character. That sin causes us to act in accord with our belief.
It is interesting to note the thinking of the very religious, that is, experts in the law. Jesus graciously disabuses their minds of their misconceptions about God’s character, “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” the paralytic demonstrates the visible manifestation of God’s word and his character of love. Jesus does this so that the very religious might also be saved from their sin.
I am very thankful for the gracious love of my Redeemer extended to the very religious.
If I was to limit the answer to one word: Unbelief. Without a perfect trust(demonstrated by obedience) in God, the resulting unbelief opens the way to pride, coveting, selfishness, and love of the world which opposes God. This departure from the principles of God's government leads to violations of natural laws, and thus to the inevitable suffering, disease, and death.
With humble, grateful appreciation I give myself daily to and accept God’s ‘Root Treatment’ for my living soul; my whole being is made well by God’s Mercy and Grace.
Mark 2:8-9KJV points out that “Jesus perceived in His spirit” the scribe’s motives to discredit Him and He challenged them directly by demonstrating His power to do both - forgive sin and heal.
What does this biblical account teach me? It shows me that everyone needs God's ‘Root Treatment’; it cleanses us from our unrighteous thoughts and our disposition to doubt the word of God and restores the living soul to become reconnected to the true root of the vine - Christ Jesus.
In this case of healing, I think Christ Jesus’ objective might have been to use these circumstances to show that He knows what is in the heart[mind] of man and to demonstrate to them the power of the new Gospel - the Gospel of Faith in the Word of God - which frees man from dependency on the old, established authority of religious systems made by man.
Forgiveness has always been the sole purview of the Creator, but the established, religious leadership had forgotten who was really in charge of this forgivness of sin and the restoration of the living soul to health. As I see it, receiving and accepting God’s Root Treatment for our living soul is paramount to our spiritual and physical needs for healing.
Brigitte, what do you mean by "Forgiveness has always been the sole purview of the Creator ..." That sounds like only God can forgive, but surely you don't mean that we cannot forgive?
Now that I look at it, the whole last paragraph sounds confusing. Can you re-word that for clarity and simplicity? (I would expect that to make it shorter. 😉)
Inge – Rewriting for clarity:
Only God can judge what is in the heart when we forgive our fellow man; humbly acknowledging this fact, our forgiveness needs to be genuine. By doing this, man accepts His Maker’s ‘Root Treatment’ of cleansing/healing man's living soul. I believe this to be at the core of our spiritual and physical healing. Psalm 51:10KJV
As a sinner and mortal human being I can and am commanded by God to forgive those who trespass against me.(Matthew 6:14,15)
However my forgiveness of someone's trespasses against me does not amount/equate to the forgiveness that God's forgiveness does.
I can ask and receive forgiveness from another sinner such as I and still be out of favor with God.
The books of God faithfully record our every act/work/word, which springs from our thoughts.
As I understand it, on the cross, Christ asked the Father to forgive all who "do not know what they do." I believe that includes every human on this planet.
Do you think the Father answered that prayer? (I think He did.)
Thus God's heart is full of forgiveness for every sinner. However, there is no reconciliation or justification until sinners acknowledge their sin, repent and ask for and receive forgiveness. (God doesn't force forgiveness on anyone who feels no need of it!)
Jesus taught that we will be forgiven as we forgive, and that assumes that we have the capacity to forgive. That's why I do not believe that "Forgiveness has always been the sole purview of the Creator ..." And I asked for clarification.
My understanding of church doctrine gleaned from God's word, is that Jesus is the only mediator between God the Father and us sinners. Logic would negate the need of a present mediator if the words Jesus spoke on the cross obtained God's forgiveness for all future sinners. Much of our understanding
of God's word would need major tweaking.
Such text as 1 John 1:9.
Thanks for the response, Peter.
I believe that the logic you mention holds only if we believe that God was/is against us and needs to be persuaded to be for us. It is logical from the human perspective of a mediator reconciling two parties hostile to each other, as is usually the case in human situations requiring a mediator.
Please consider why a Mediator is needed for salvation:
Does God need to be persuaded to save us?
Does He need to be persuaded to forgive us?
Do we need to be persuaded that God loves us?
Do we need to be persuaded that God's heart is full of forgiveness?
What do you see in 2 Corinthians 5:19 where Paul tells us that God was "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them"? (ESV)(If He is not counting our sins against us, it sounds to me like He has already forgiven us.)
But let there be no mistake: God's forgiveness does us no good unless we accept it. And acceptance involves repentance and confession. It is not even possible for God to force anyone to accept forgiveness who doesn't want it. That's why Bible writers admonish us to repent and ask to be forgiven. It makes God's forgiveness effective for us.
On the other hand, as humans, we are invited to have the heart of Jesus (Phil 2:5), which was full of forgiveness, thus, like God, we will forgive before anyone confesses to us.
As I understand it, Jesus died our second death on the cross while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He didn't ask for our permission and he didn't require us to act first in order that He could act to save us.
God doesn't force forgiveness
That statement doesn't really make sense to me. That's like saying God doesn't force His love on us
God's love, mercy and forgiveness flow effortlessly from His heart without our contribution. Will they benefit us subjectively? Only if we believe Him (John 3:16).
You are right, Sieg. I needed to use a few more words that I thought were understood:
"God doesn't force us to accept forgiveness." (That's not even possible as long as we have free will.)
In the same way, I would expect that "God doesn't force His love on us" would be understood as "God doesn't force us to accept His love." Force is totally foreign to God's government based on self-sacrificing love in an atmosphere of free will.
Since God is love, and pure love, and ALL love, He is perfect! All that He longs for us, finite creatures, is to live according to our finite minds can understand. Balance for us is important! But for a perfect being, that concept does not really make a difference! We are the ones who created barriers, we are the ones who decided to sin, we are the ones who fell... and we pay for (part of) this price. Because Jesus paid in full for us, in order to restore us to Himself, to the mercy of His Grace! Then, our body, mind and spirit must all be cured, because we are all a single life with these different interactive aspects! As one aspect influences the other... God Himself created us like that... just as He is 3. At that time, for the paralitic, his physycal condition was the result of his or his family sins (this is just a matter of emphasis, because it is true), thus Jesus came to break that down and cure him ALL! In spirit, in mind and body!
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20
Is my heart converted?
Does Jesus rules and reigns supremely in my mind?
I would listen to many SDA and they will be saying, 'I don't need a TV in my house, or I got rid of my TV, or such and such about TV because TV is not good for Christians. Many SDA do not know there is no problem with TV, actually TV is a great thing to have in our homes. The problems do not lies in the TV or with the TV, the problems, the root cause, lies at the root of our sinfulness, our sinful minds. Our choices. Getting rid of the TV does not solve the problems in our minds, it is only a bandage to the festered, ulcer of our sinful minds. We as SDA need to get to the root of the problem then we will see no matter how many TV we have in the house Satan and sin will not have its grip on us. There is a song name- In Christ Alone- it says Sin's curse has lost its grip on me. Jesus wants every child of his to have victory over sin despite our earthy suffering in this present world. What did Paul said in the bible. Gal 2:20. Being crucified with Christ. Crucifixion causes pain.
Jesus, who understood the man's repentance, informs him that his sins were forgiven.
At the time when Jesus was living upon the earth, the mercy and promises of God had been lost sight of, and unbelief was wide-spread among the leaders of the nation, and thus, passed on to the people. Jesus at times remarked about the great lack of faith in Israel.
Romans 5:1, Psalm 32:1-5, and other such passages of God's word show the only way to find peace, and the rest that is promised. Even today, with the many troubles that are coming to all nations, we can find "perfect peace".
Jesus, who understood the man's repentance...
Is this conjecture on your part? The story as told three times in the Bible never mentions repentance, only faith (Matthew 9:1–8; Mark 2:1–12; Luke 5:17–26).
There are other instances just like this one in the Bible where faith is similarly mentioned and there is no need to add to what is clearly revealed (Matthew 9:29; Matthew 15:28; Matthew 9:22; James 5:14-15; Mark 10:52).
The Centurion's servant was similarly healed by his masters faith, not by any supplication or repentance on the servant's part (Luke 7:1-10).
Seig, isn't the answer in the story itself? Would Jesus say his sins were forgiven if he was unrepentant? Didn't Jesus live "by every word" of God? (See Psalm 32:1-5, Proverbs 28:13, 1 John 1:9, etc)
Keep in mind Jesus' main message to all(Mark 1:15).
Robert - if you consider 'the answer to be in the story itself', I suggest to look to identify the sole, operative power in action - this is the Savior's love for the sinner and the faith of the recipient to receive His act of Grace/Love.
God loves at all times, always and forever - even if we do not love Him; He is longsuffering and understanding toward us and our frailties working on our behalf and waiting for us to come back to Him.
Yes, as you say: 'keep in mind Jesus' main message to all' - ..."The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark1:15KJV
One of the definitions of 'repent' is: 'view or think of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse.'
This statement of Jesus tells everyone that He has come to preach a new Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into which everyone can enter by faith.
He lets everyone know to let go/give up/repent of the old ways of working to maintain the relationship with God and accept the new Way of Life and Light - FAITH.
If looked at in this way, Jesus' "repent and believe the gospel" would mean - turn away from using works related to the law for your salvation, and turn to believing the New Gospel, which is based solely on faith, instead.
Once the person decided to believe with the heart and mind, convinced that this is God's Truth, he/she enters the kingdom of heaven and lives life unto Salvation according to its teachings.
"The Savior's love for the sinner" will always be demonstrated by His call to "repent and believe..."(Rev 3:19). There is no getting around this act of faith on the sinner's part Brigitte. Without this act on our part as sinners, pardon is impossible and we "must die in your sins"(John 8:24). Repentance is our first step of faith in salvation, and without this, God is powerless to save us.
Can you see this truth revealed in the Beatitudes(Matt 5:3-12), which outlines the entire experience of salvation? Jesus can never pardon the impenitent.
Robert - one more request to helping me understand you better - what does the 'repent/repentance' you advocate look like?
Is it an experience, is it a prerequisit to being accepted into the kingdom of God, is it a listing of all of one's sins to be confessed to ask God for forgiveness in order to be accepted by Him when one decides to believe? I just do not understand the type of 'repent/repentance' you are advocating.
When I read Matt.5:3-12KJV, I understand it to advocate for the faith of those who have already accepted to live in the kingdom of God and need to be comforted by Christ's words.
Perhaps you have already answered your question Brigitte? Look again at the Beatitudes and ask HOW did those who accepted the live in the kingdom of God reveal their desire? As you consider this, consider: Mark 1:15, Acts 2:37,38; 3:19, Luke 19:1-10; 24:47, Jas 4:7-10, Rev 3:19. What do these verses point to in answer to HOW?
When you say "accepted by Him" are you referring to His offer/invitation, or pardon/forgiveness? You see, the Lord will never turn away any who turn to Him, but the promise of eternal life is only "to him that overcomes". (The rich young ruler turned to Jesus, but ended up turning away due to what Jesus counseled him to do. Most of Laodicea will do likewise.)
Also, I only advocate what Jesus and the Word of God advocates.
The conditions of a sinful world causes/results in suffering and pain. Sometimes the lifestyle one chooses can result in physical or psychological suffering but an individual sin or a lifetime of a repeated sin does not cause disease. Many great and wonderful people get cancer or are hit by a truck and die and many evil people live long healthy lives and die in their sleep. The point of the story is to make plain that Christ has the power given to Him by the Father by way of His life and sacrifice, to restore us and make us whole now or when He returns but it will happen. In this thought rests our faith and hope.
"Will it happen"? Yes to when He returns, if we return to Him, or turn to Him if we never have before. Not always now, does not imply no faith found in him, if he has returned to, or turned to God, and trusts in God.
The question is, "In whom do we put our trust for 'rest in healing?'" The answer is not in ourselves or in our understanding and abilities. Instead, it is in the One who can work rest in our hearts regardless of the outcome of the disease of our minds, emotions and circumstances.
Christ's struggle during the cross experience was the ultimate display of God's work of rest in restless human hearts.
My experience with toothaches was different. One Friday morning I woke up with a terrible toothache. I called my dentist, and he told me that the earliest he could see me was Monday, but advised me to dissolve a spoonful of salt in a cup of water and use the solution as mouthwash several times a day. I did as instructed and the pain was gone. I cancelled my dentist appointment and have been several years without toothache.
The diagnosis is unfaithfulness, or if you prefer backsliding.
The treatment is to return to God.
Jeremiah 3:22,23 has the diagnosis, treatment, the promise of healing if we turn to Him, and the consequences of not responding to His drawing love.
Truly in Christ we find Rest, yes in Christ we find salvation. Acts 4:12.
That is healing of our backsliding.
In Jesus' time was forgiveness/atonement understood/practiced the same as per the instructions from God via Moses?
Lev 4:27-31 - the offering/sacrifice of the sinner was slaughtered and the priest applied the blood and burned the fat and:
Lev 4:31 MKJV And the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
So the scribes were shocked because they thought only God can forgive sins and only through the priests and after a sacrifice. Jesus was circumventing the rituals because He was the Son of God and He could read the person's heart.
We no longer have to go to a place or a person to ask for forgiveness because Jesus has provided direct access to the throne of God who reads our hearts and forgives our sins based on the fact that Jesus died for our sins.
Shirley - in addition, may I suggest that "We no longer have to go to a [special]place or a [special]person to ask for forgiveness because Jesus has provided direct access to the throne of God who reads our hearts and forgives our sins based on the fact that" - the Father loved His Son, raised Him from the dead and all who follow the Father's teachings, shared by His Son as the Gospel of the kingdom of God, will be blessed!
Shirley, just to clarify, I believe you are referring to asking forgiveness from God. And I agree with what you write.
However, when we have sinned against a person, we need to go to that person to apologize and ask for forgiveness in order for our asking God for forgiveness to be meaningful.
Inge, thank you for clarifying that point, and taking it a step further, we will apologize to those we have hurt for we love our 'enemies/neighbours' like Jesus loves us.
My point was we don't have to confess our sins to a priest/pastor only to God.
Only God can blot out sins from His record book.
Just as God no longer holds us accountable for those sins, because we have His love in our heart, we will not hold those who have hurt us accountable either, they will have to answer to God for their actions, who is:
The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty Ex 34:6-7
I like how you put this (above) Brigette. I am in full support of repentance, obedience, commandment keeping, maintaining commendable Christian standards of behavior... just not as a means of salvation.
These are things we do in response to God's love, forgiveness and salvation, not as a condition for them.
This is where I lock horns with the legalists that pervade our planet. It's either grace or works, not both. The first saves, the latter condemns and we get to choose which is real for us.
Of course obedience is not the means of Salvation Sieg, but it will always be the result if one is truly saved "by (God's) grace through (the sinner's) faith". There is no entrance into the City of God without this sure result of the gospel IF we believe.
One's fear of legalists cannot change the science of salvation. Without the result of sanctification/holiness, "no man shall see the Lord"(John 3:3,5, Heb 12:14).
Why do you undertake the ongoing work to breathe, or to eat, etc? Is it not, in part, because these things are necessary conditions for being alive?
Living in harmony with the principles that are inherent to life and living (as per your words: repentance, obedience, commandment keeping, maintaining commendable Christian standards of behaviour) is a necessary 'condition' (technically, pre-condition) to that life and living.
Consequently, it's not merely grace vs 'works'. Works/work/working are inherent to life and living. Experience-dependent development (ie growth) is one of the most fundamental dynamics of life and living.
The real issue is between 'works' done in an attempt to merit/obligate God vs work(ing) because that's just how reality operates. The distinguishing difference is the motivational base underpinning the works (1 Sam 16:7). This is why Paul could say that we need to work-out/develop our salvation using the strength that God provides in order for us to do this (Philippians 2:12,13). Or why James could say that faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
The rightly-deserved bad reputation of merit-based-works has unfortunately led to a 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' phenomenon where all working tends to be seen as wrong. Rather, there is need to distinguish between the wrongly-motivated form of works and the necessary one.
What I have outlined above is in no way dismissive of the fact you referred to re God's love drawing/internally compelling us to want to live in harmony with the Way that alone can lead to life. It is complementary to it.
I believe that living in harmony with the LORD's Principles of Life will be inherent to Eternal Life but are not a prerequisite to this probationary life on this earth now. However if we love the LORD with all our heart, mind, spirit and body we will desire to be transformed -here and now - into the image of the LORD which will include living in harmony with His Principles of Life.
Hello Shirley, you wrote:
"I believe that living in harmony with the LORD's Principles of Life will be inherent to Eternal Life but are not a prerequisite to this probationary life on this earth now".
Could you elaborate on your meaning of the bold-faced portion? I see a contradiction as I read it, but I may not understand your true meaning.
Robert, I was responding to Phil's comment to Sieg:
Living in harmony with the principles that are inherent to life and living (as per your words: repentance, obedience, commandment keeping, maintaining commendable Christian standards of behaviour) is a necessary 'condition' (technically, pre-condition) to that life and living.
Per John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
But with a few exceptions those who do not believe in Jesus carry on living in this probationary time so it is not a 'condition' now for life/living.
Perhaps "necessary condition" was not the best phrase in Phil's original comment.
However, I do believe that when anyone - believer or unbeliever - acts out of harmony with God's law of life for the universe (self-sacrificing love) harm ensues - both to the perpetrator and those around him/her. The harm may be only internal and thus not immediately visible. But it is harm nonetheless. And, of course, the end result of such behavior, if not repented of, is eternal death. Phil can correct me if that's not what he meant. 😉
Got it. The sun and rain benefit both sinners and saints in this life. Probation is for all to benefit from IF they will "repent and believe...".
Absolutely Inge, I truly believe that the only way we can be happy and fulfilled is if we live in harmony with the Principles of Life of the Creator, because He knows what is best. But it is not automatic, because He loves us, He gives us the choice, we can live during this time of probation according to our own desires and take the consequences.
I note that conversation is happening here at ssnet. And I also note that there is willingness to seek clarification of what is being said to see if it is being understood or possibly misunderstood.
The 'communication process' is unfortunately highly vulnerable to misperception and/or misunderstanding which is why successive refinement is often needed in light of feedback. I hope that clarification-seeking continues to be an important dynamic on this forum...