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Mark 177 - The Greater Miracle



And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”


Mark 11:25


When it comes to having “faith as a mustard seed” so that we can command a mountain to move[1] we get all excited. We look at the dynamic, visible display of God’s power like a heavenly fireworks display. We’re all in with that.


Everyone wants to hear about receiving God’s blessing when he “opens the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in.[2]” We want to take a shower in that promise.


People will flock to hear how God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus[3]. You can fill an auditorium with messages like that.


But if you want to empty a room, or have your attendance go down, or if you desire to have your number of “likes” dwindle, then start sharing this message of Jesus.


It starts when we are standing up, praying. This may be strange to you because when we meet, we sit down. Starting in the thirteenth century, backless benches were introduced, and they have morphed into today’s padded pews and individual seats.


But the Jews didn’t have chairs. They mostly sat or laid on the ground. There were no chairs in the temple or synagogues of the day either. When they came into praying or worshiping, they stood. When the Pharisee and tax collector are portrayed, they both are standing[4].


But Jesus goes for a very sensitive subject, the place where people may not know about your secret sins within. If you steal, murder, or commit adultery, someone’s going to know. But this may not show itself. It can remain hidden, underneath the covers.


Jesus doesn’t just put the spiritual bar high; he puts it out of sight. It’s like trying to jump over a pole vault bar but without the pole.


If we have anything against anyone – now, that’s about as broad as you can get. It’s not for people you like who are nice to you. But it applies to people that you don’t like. That have been harsh, hard, and mean towards you and those you love.


Jesus puts these two kinds of forgiveness side by side. If we have a problem with forgiveness of others, how does this compare to God’s forgiveness of us? No matter what they’ve done, it’s chickenfeed compared to what we’ve done against God. No matter what they’ve said. No matter how hurtful their words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes, our personal sins towards God are an eternity more severe.


Yet, God in Christ forgives us. He wipes the slate clean, using the payment of Jesus to pay the debt we’ve created. So, no matter how much they owe you because of their selfishness, it’s a really small amount in comparison to what God has already done for us.


This kind of truth, this kind of message, this kind of preaching will not add followers to your social media accounts. This is a weight that no one can lift. It’s an impossible standard to keep.


And that’s the point. We can’t keep it. We can’t keep any law or set of rules. No matter what system or list of rules we may try to follow, we will accidently and purposefully break them. We will be disobedient. It’s who we are. We are sinners.


Someone once wrote;


Of all the truths in the Bible, the one with the most evidence is “for all have sinned.”


And just like any law, you can only break it. There are no earning points or credits to offset the guilt or penalty for when we break the law. It doesn’t matter how many times you come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The first time you “roll through” a stop sign, you’re busted. Your guilty. There is no offsetting payment for obedience.


That’s why Jesus had to come. God had to take our sin and our deserved penalty on himself. We can’t pay the fine, repay the debt. Only God can. This means that Jesus is more than just another good guy, prophet, seer, leader.


Where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."


John 1:29


The lamb of God has to be God, or the sacrifice would not be enough.


Isn’t it time to experience the greater miracle? To worship God’s lamb, who took away our sin? And he did it once and for all. So, our response is to accept his payment once and for all.

[1] Matthew 17:20 [2] Malachi 3:10 [3] Philippians 4:19 [4] Luke 18:9-14

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