Any Room for Jesus?
At Southbridge Fellowship we’re committed to connecting people to Jesus for life change, and our ministry extends beyond the worship services. Rather than remain strangers smiling across the lobby, we want to learn names and life stories. We hunger for mutually-encouraging friendships that boost our walk with God. We strive to help one another in the struggles we all experience. Through the E-Group ministry Southbridge offers the opportunity for soul-nourishing interactions with others. Groups meet at various times and places throughout the week, and we’re grateful to those who open their homes for this ministry.
Suppose Jesus was seeking a base for ministry in your neighborhood. Could you make your home available to Him? Would you allow Him to use your resources at His discretion? The spiritually-correct answer is yes, but we know such a commitment has associated costs, so hesitation governs our response. Questions and excuses flood our minds like kudzu consuming a field. Do I want strangers invading my living room? How would I prepare? What will people expect? Are my furniture, flooring, and decorating schemes adequate? What will the neighbors think?
For Peter and Andrew the opportunity to open their home became a reality as Jesus visited Capernaum (Mark 1:29). I doubt they had a clue what would happen as they welcomed Jesus into the family. Mark 1:33 (NIV) tells us that “the whole town gathered at the door.” As Jesus healed diseases and banished demons people flocked to that home. Curiosity brought some. Pressing needs drove others.
Jesus departed Capernaum for several days of ministry in other towns, and when He returned word spread quickly. The scene is described in Mark 2:1-2 (NIV) “…people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.”
For the families of Peter and Andrew privacy evaporated. Their home overflowed with friends and strangers seeking Jesus. Stuff was out of place, the grass was trampled, and visitors jostled one another for a better view.
Four men arrived carrying their paralyzed friend. Could Jesus restore his mobility? No one moved aside, cleared a path, or assisted the men in reaching the Savior, but the determined quartet was not to be denied. They climbed to the roof and broke up clay tiles to open a hole. Now, that’s making yourself at home in someone else’s residence. Somehow they knew their actions would be acceptable to the owners. Peter and Andrew had changed since they met Jesus.
Did Jesus stop teaching as the dirt and debris rained down? Did He look up with a disapproving frown as class was interrupted? Every eye turned upward as the sunlight streamed through the ceiling. The four men demonstrated faith and vulnerability as they tied ropes to the corners of the bed and lowered their suffering friend in front of the Lord. How would Jesus respond? The jam-packed group spooned into Peter’s living room froze in amazement as the action unfolded.
Was anyone (besides the four men on the roof) expecting the result? What an event for each person to witness. The once-paralyzed man scooped up his cot and walked through the parted crowd. Peter and Andrew might have decided ministry was too messy and refused their home to Jesus. Think of the blessings they would have missed.
Pastors Scott and Jason have been leading us in Red Letters, a study of the sayings and commands of Jesus. Here’s another from Matthew 18:20 (NIV), “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Have you considered hosting an E-Group in your home? Don’t let fear or unanswered concerns block your blessings. People aren’t coming because of the place. They will come because of the One who’s meeting the group there.