According to this website, the word immediately appears 55 times in scripture. This word always strikes me during Bible studies because nearly every time Jesus heals someone, it says that after they were healed, they immediately got up and did something about it. Whether Jesus commanded them to go and do something in particular like in Mark 2:11, where Jesus said to the palsied man, “I say unto thee, arise and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house.” or even when He did not tell them to do anything at all, scripture says that most of these people went out as soon as they were healed and shared the good news with other people. They were healed by Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and they wanted everyone to know about it, and they were not willing to delay. Just like the man in Mark 2, we are told to do something by God after we are healed by His blood. We are told to go out and be fishers of men. We are told to share the Gospel, we are told to pass the good news along. And just like these men, we are commanded to do so immediately. God does not tell us to wait until we have gone to Bible college, until we have a certain amount of scripture memorized, or until we have a certain about of knowledge of theology. We put those restrictions on ourselves, God does not. The only thing that needs to be preached is Christ Crucified. If we are saved, we know how to get others saved. We know what saved us, and we know how to tell others about it. We know what we are saved from, and we should want others to be saved from the same terrible fate that awaits us all that are apart from God. This word should inspire us when we read it in scripture, and it should convict us to do better. Because this man was willing to arise out of bed like Jesus told him to, the other people in his house saw what Jesus had done for him and were all amazed.
9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
You see, Jesus had a plan from the very beginning. When He heard about this man, He began planning a way to not only heal this one man and show him the truth, but to use this man as a tool to get others to know the greatness of God as well. As He said in verse 9, He could have just forgiven the man and continued His journey, but He chose a different route so that the others would know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins. But Jesus had to get this man to go along with His plan in order to glorify God through him. What if the man refused to leave his bed? What if he sat there and said, “Jesus, forgiveness is enough. Let me just lay here. Why do I have to get up?” Would Jesus accept that behavior? So often, we behave that way. We tell God that we are happy to accept His forgiveness and grace, but when the time comes for us to arise, we want to sit around just a bit longer. The Bible says that this man went forth before them; it doesn’t say that he went up to a pulpit and preached a heartfelt sermon and then they all believed. All it took was for him to walk in and these people saw the difference. Of course they did! The man was paralyzed, now he is walking. But Christians, the change in us should be just as obvious after we are saved. In other words, God is not telling us all to go out and be Pastor’s of a church and preach every Sunday. God is not telling us all to sell everything we have and go to Africa to be a missionary. Yes, He has a plan for all of us, a marvelous plan, but He uses us in different ways. Sometimes, He uses us in ways that we think are small. All this man had to do was walk in a room and stand in front of these people. This makes me wonder two things…
Have We Really Changed That Much?
Even if you were born and raised in a conservative home, never partied, never did drugs, never drank, never had sex before marriage, and lived a decent, wholesome life before salvation, there should still be a very obvious change in you. You will have a hunger for scripture that was not there before. You will have the desire to be in a God fearing church. You will want to listen to different music, perhaps. You will want to be around other Bible Believing Christians. The time that you spent doing things that aren’t necessarily sinful, you will now want to spend getting closer to God. I wonder, have we really changed that much? When we are around our old friends, do they see a difference, or do we still blend in? The Bible says that before Christ, we were blind. Because of Him, we are given sight. That’s a pretty big difference. Are we any different at all?
I’ve met a few Christians that are so sold out for Christ that you can literally feel it the moment that you get around them. I remember meeting a Pastor for the first time, one that I had listened to for years online, and when I talked to him for the first time, I was in awe. There was something very Godly in this man and you could feel it from a mile away. I think of the paralyzed man, his presence alone stirring up a revival in his home, and I think to myself…what does our presence feel like? Coincidentally, the first conversation that I had with this Pastor drifted towards how Christians should act and carry themselves. He made a comment that I’ll never forget, and said something along the lines of, “A non-believer should always sense something in us that is very different, and very odd. Later on, they will recognize that they were feeling the presence of the Spirit in us.”
When we are saved, the Holy Spirit takes residence in all of us. We should be different. So very different that the world can sense that there is something unique in us. That there is a light, there is a form of something that can only be chalked down to God. Are we representing the Holy Spirit properly?
Are We Willing To Arise?
Often times, the simplest things that He asked us to do seem to be the hardest. You see, when we feel a calling to do something great for Him, like when He calls you men to preach in a church, or when He calls us to lead a small group, or go on a mission trip, we aren’t worrying over if we seem silly. We aren’t worrying over if this calling is just too…mundane. But then, He calls us to go tell that salesman in the mall about Jesus and we’re suddenly too embarrassed and shy. He calls us to go and stand in the room full of our old friends, or perhaps our unsaved family, and show how different we are, and we feel silly. We get stage fright. But this man…he didn’t care. As a matter of fact, no one that Jesus healed seemed to care about how they’d look when they went out to tell everyone about what He had done for them. They just went out and told people. You may be thinking, “Of course they told everyone! These people were suffering, some were even dying! He performed miracles on them! What He has done for us isn’t that big of a deal!” I mean, I’ve never had leprosy and been healed by Jesus’ touch. I’ve never been blind, only to receive sight from Jesus. He has never called out to me like He called out to Lazarus and pulled me from death. But what has He done? My name may as well be changed to Lazarus. I may have not been dead physically, but I was dead spiritually.
We were once damned to an eternity in Hell but Christ saved us and has mansions prepared for us in Heaven. Even better than that, we will be with Him. We will have the freedom to walk with Him, talk with Him. To see His face. We will have no more sadness, no more death. Everything will be perfect. So really, Christ did more for us than just heal us from leprosy or give us eyes that see. He gave us everything. He saved us.
So why is it that we are willing to sit by and be idle while there are lost souls everywhere? We have all of the knowledge needed. We have our Bible’s. We have freedom. What is stopping us from rising like that man and going out immediately? Is it fear? Is it embarrassment? Is it laziness? We have no excuses, no matter how we feel. No job is too small to be carried out for God. And when He calls us and we are certain that it is indeed Him calling, we should carry out His instructions immediately.
As Leonard Ravenhill asked many times, “Where is our unction? Where is our zeal?” We are all well aware of how bad this world is getting, and it will only get worse from here. We whine about politics on Facebook, we complain about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We ask for prayers during shootings and riots…we acknowledge that bad things are happening, but we still have no zeal. No unction. No fire. I keep waiting for something to happen that finally wakes us up. I keep waiting to see something happen that will get us off off of our couches and into the world to evangelize. Something that will get us on the alter at church, on our knees in prayer. But still…we are content to sit and watch. Or maybe, we aren’t watching at all. Perhaps we’re sleeping, and we don’t want to be woken up. But Jesus says arise. He doesn’t tell us to wait until you’re married, or perhaps at a more respectable age. He doesn’t tell us to wait until the election is over, or until we have finished college classes. He says rise, and He says to do it immediately. The question is, are we willing? And as I’ve said before…it really all boils down to this; how much do we love Him?