Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We Have Never Seen Anything Like This!

As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

When was the last time someone made this statement as they were leaving your Bible study group? I have to admit, those occasions have not been as frequent as I would like in my own Bible study group. But when Jesus was teaching, this is what was said on one occasion -- see the entire story in Mark 2:1-12.

Jesus was teaching in a Capernaum home. A large crowd of listeners had filled the cramped room. This crowd consisted of the curious Bible study attendees (the crowd) and the scrutinizing legalists (the scribes and pharisees). Much like the attendees of our groups today, they were all there for different reasons and with different motivations.

One other group attended: those who brought someone to Jesus. This is when the real Bible lesson began to take place. For you see, the paralytic was someone who could not get to Jesus on his own. So why did a group of individuals so willingly and sacrificially work to get this paralytic to the feet of Jesus during a Bible study? Could it be that they expected something more from sitting at the feet of Jesus than an eloquent dissection of the Scriptures? Could it be that they really expected Jesus' teachings to change the life of the paralytic?

Actually, we only know that they wanted this man to have the opportunity to be healed from a physical paralysis. But, when the Master Teacher finished, it was the healing of the soul -- the forgiveness of sins -- that became the focus.

Now we can't forgive sins but we know the Forgiver and the Healer. So, when we are teaching, do we expect people to encounter the Word only or the Author of the Word who brings forgiveness and frees us from the paralysis of sin? Why shouldn't we expect people to walk away from Bible study in a changed state? We have His Spirit working through us as we teach, don't we?

What about you? 

  • Do you treat your Bible study lesson as a task you check off of a weekly "to do" list? 
  • Do you expect people to leave amazed by how God is working in and through the Bible study to draw men unto Himself, to bring forgiveness, and to mature us?
  • Is your group bringing people who need the forgiveness of Jesus because they expect God to show up during Bible study?
If not, then why do you teach? Wouldn't it be better just to plug in a video, listen and leave?

What do you think?