“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (Mark 2:3-5)
As I was coming home from church the Lord asked me, “Tiffany, are you in it to win it?” My first thought was, “Of course, Lord.” yet I quickly realized that my actions often betray that answer. Sadly, there are many times that I don’t push past my comfort level in simple obedience much less go to this extreme and rip the roof off of something so I can get to Jesus. As I pondered the question the Lord asked me, I wondered just how desperate for Jesus I really was.
These guys were desperate for Jesus! Nothing was going to hold them back. Let’s get a picture of this scene in our mind so we can really grasp it. In that day, a typical house would have had a flat roof with stairs or a ladder going up to the roof on the outside. This is most likely how they all got up on the roof. The roof itself was probably made of wooden beams with a mixture of mortar, tar, ashes, and sand spread over it and rolled hard. Grass would grow in the crevices and on the houses of the poor in the country it wasn’t uncommon to see goats on the roof eating the grass. Because Luke’s account of the same event mentions that they let him down through the tiles (see Luke 5:19) we know that the roof also had tiles in it for added security. Therefore, not only did they have to dig through the grass and earth,but they also had to pry up the tiles.
Can you imagine what the inhabitants inside must have been thinking? Dirt and debris was probably falling all over them; they must have been like what the heck… Nevertheless, unconcerned about the damage they were doing to a house that wasn’t even their own, unconcerned about what anyone thought about them, this group ripped the roof off the house to get to Jesus!
It’s time! It’s time to rip the roof off our faith and get to Jesus.
What about the poor woman that had an issue of blood for twelve years? She was so desperate for Jesus she pushed through every obstacle in her way to get to the feet of Jesus. She was broke, she was sick, and she was an outcast. However, though she was probably physically and emotionally exhausted after many years of bleeding, she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” (Matthew 9:21) Beloved, this is very important for us to catch today. She didn’t say to herself, “I doubt anything will happen…why bother, I’ve already tried everything….it’s no use…” This woman spoke what she believed deep inside herself, which was that she would be made well if she could just touch the hem of His garment. Scripture teaches us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak and that we will eat the fruit of our words. (See Luke 6:45 and Proverbs 18:21)
This woman ripped the roof off her faith and pressed in to Jesus and He knew it. Although there was a large crowd pressing in around Him, He felt a type of touch that made Him stop and say, “Who touched Me?” (Luke 8:45) Mind you, this wasn’t your typical touch; Jesus was surrounded by a crowd pressing in to get close to Him, much like what we see with modern day celebrities. Jesus experienced a touch that was different than the others. He felt a touch of faith that was so desperate for Him that it pushed through everything that stood in its way and reached out to take a hold of the hem of His garment.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)
Although the text here is difficult to understand, I don’t believe Jesus is saying that the throne that God is sitting on is under attack. I believe He is telling us that the kingdom of God, which He desires to set up among/within men, is under attack. God’s kingdom here on earth consists of healing in our bodies, prosperity in our finances, blessings in our lives, peace in our minds, joy in our hearts, as well as signs and wonders following all believers. God is trying to penetrate our atmosphere with His goodness, but at the same time His kingdom is under attack. The enemy is trying to steal our joy, our peace, our prosperity, our healing, and all of our blessings, as well as keep us defeated and discouraged. Sometimes it’s just easier to quit when we have tried and tried and tried before. However, with a passionate expectation of the miraculous we will violently press into the kingdom that God desires to set up here on earth just as it is in heaven.
The violent take it by force.
In Greek, “take it by force” speaks of men and women who, filled with holy zeal, press in to obtain a blessing. The Greek word is harpazo (pronounced har-pa-zo; Strong’s #726). Harpazo means: to seize, to carry off by force, or to eagerly seize claim of something for one’s self. Regarding harpazo, we don’t just see this earnestness (which seems almost violent) in the two portions of Scripture we just looked at, it’s all throughout the Bible. To overlook this truth may cause us to become passive people of faith. This will ultimately limit the ministry of God’s kingdom in our lives and the lives of our loved ones who we are praying and believing for.
This is why God asked me on the way home from church if I was in it to win it. You see, that night I felt the Lord calling me forward for prayer but I didn’t respond. I was on the worship team playing keyboard and hadn’t ever discussed with the leader if it would be okay to just leave my post and stop playing in order to go for prayer. Looking back now it seems so silly. I know the answer would have been a whole hearted “yes”…but at that moment my mind raced with all kinds of thoughts and those thoughts caused my feet to stay planted where they were instead of moving out in my desperation for Jesus.
That’s not who I want to be as a believer. I want to be a person who would rip the roof off of a house to get to my Lord. I want to be a person who would abandon her reputation ignoring the crowd around me to get to the feet of Jesus. Can you identify?
What does all this mean? To me, being desperate for Jesus is about pushing past whatever barrier is in your way. We all have barriers in our life of one type or another. Barriers of fear, barriers of doubt, barriers of embarrassment etc. but I believe with everything inside of me that if we can breakthrough our barriers to get to Jesus we will get our breakthrough.
I’m not saying that I know what that looks like; all I’m saying is that it’s time to let nothing hold us back. It’s time to rip the roof off our faith and get to the feet of Jesus. You know the desperate situation in your own life. You also know the stirring in your heart and what God has asked you to do. God is faithful and with every situation He has a solution. I suppose it can be anything. It could be ripping the roof off your physical comfort to and wake up hours before you need to go to work just to spend time with the Lord. It could be ripping the roof off your yearnings and begin to fast for a freedom. It could be ripping the roof off your reasoning and making a phone call even though every thought in your head tells you not to. Or it could be to rip the roof off your emotions and push through the eyes of on lookers and respond to a message you just heard and get to the altar even though nobody else is moving.
No matter if it’s big or it’s little in your eyes, beloved, it’s time to rip the roof off our faith. It’s time to desperately press in to the Kingdom of God and refuse to stop until we get to the feet of Jesus. Lord help us… Amen and Amen.