I must admit it, I am a complete sucker for the ‘good life’ that is presented in adverts. The philosophy that is expressed as ‘buy your comfort here’ - often in the car adverts; ‘buy this to look fantastic' - often in the fashion industry; or ‘your life will be so much better if you own this’ - in the consumer electronics. I am a real sucker to the last one especially - I hear you all agreeing with that as you see the clothes I wear! (I am currently wearing some jeans I bought in 1994 and I don’t know if they were in fashion then!)
Hook, Line and Sinker
I realised I am a sucker to it on the very day that a new phone arrived. I really did believe life would be better with a new box of metal. It is not the latest phone or the greatest phone, but it is my phone and I am thankful. I just shouldn’t put more hope in it than is fair. It will not really make life any better than it was yesterday. That is because my biggest problem is not solved by a new phone. I know that, because it actually made life worse.
Distracted by the new phone and the need to back up the old phone, change the sim card, log in to iCloud and all the other various things you have to do before you can use the thing…. I forgot that our youngest needed to get to school, I needed to have a shower and quite frankly, life needed to keep functioning. It seemed like I just took my eye off the ball for a minute and the whole thing fell apart. I was looking at multiple screens, and yet around the house were multiple screams! We were just about going to make it in time when he realised he didn’t have a lunch box. Then we discovered yesterday’s lunch still in the box, had to make today’s lunch and run to school. The phone that promised organisational bliss actually brought disorganised mess - why? Because that is not my biggest problem. Sin is.
That’s not my problem
In Mark 2 Jesus has a conversation with a man who is paralysed. This man has some wonderful friends, people who bring him to hear Jesus teach the Bible and who they know can perform wonderful miracles. When the men find the way to Jesus is blocked they use their initiative to make a hole in the roof and lower the man down right in front of Jesus. He can’t possibly ignore the man’s legs now - he is right in front of him! Mark 2:5 says that he sees past the paralysis to a much bigger problem:
‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said to paralysed man, ”Son, your sins are forgiven”
Jesus saw a bigger problem when everyone else saw the man’s legs. I am so often the same. I think my problem is time - I don’t have enough of it. Or money - I don’t have enough of that. Or rest - I need more of that. Or comfort - If only I could feel at ease. None of those are my biggest problem. Sin is my biggest problem. I am by nature a man who runs from God, not to him. I am a man who by nature thinks I am right when I need to learn I am not. I am a man by nature that builds an identity apart from God, rather than accepting the identity he has for me to be like his son Jesus. My problems stem from this problem, and the solution is not a new gadget, it is in being given a new heart.
That’s my Saviour
Jesus diagnoses the man’s biggest problem and proves he has the authority to deal with it. He says he can forgive sin and then proves it by healing the man's legs. When he is commanded to walk out, he picks up his bed and walks (Mark 2:11-12). Jesus healed the man to prove he can also forgive his sin. Later in the book of Mark, Jesus would be put on a cross to show he is so serious about sin that he would rather pay for it than let us face its consequence.
Jesus not only knows my biggest problem when I can't see it, but he also deals with it when I can't. If only I could grow in appreciation for that, maybe I would not be so swayed by the adverts!