Monday, November 24, 2014

Basin Theology!  It's a simple concept that's identified twice in the scriptures.  In Matthew 27, as Pontius Pilate wrestled with the decision of whether or not to crucify Jesus, took a basin of water and washed his hands before the crowd and said, "I am innocent of this man's blood." In John 13,on the night before His crucifixion, Jesus took a basin of water and washed the feet of ALL of His disciples -- including Judas.  

It's a simple matter of basin theology. We choose the way we use the basin. Some wash their hands of Jesus over and over, choosing to ignore His unconditional love, His ultimate loving sacrifice, and His call to eternal, abundant life. Others embrace His example and teachings like:  "Whatever you want others to do for you, do the same for them -- for this fulfills the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12   "If I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example that you should do just as I have done for you.  If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."    John 13:14-17

Which basin have you chosen?  In Mark 2, we find the story of four men who, though they probably hadn't heard Jesus say those things, lived out these teachings by taking a risk to help a friend in need.  Here's the story:

Jesus was teaching in a home.  The homes then were small and usually had a flat roof.  There would also be an outside stair case or perhaps a ladder for access to the rood in the cool of the morning or evening.  The house was at capacity and the the crowd gathered around the doorway, which kept any others from getting into the home.  That's the scene when four guys show up carrying their paralyzed friend on a cot.  The crowd won't let them through and it seems their mission has been in vain.

But they would have no part of that.  They found the access and carried their friend up to the roof.  Then they took whatever they could use to dig a hole in the clay roof.  Once the hole was large enough, they took ropes or perhaps outer garments and used them to lower their friend's cot at the feet of Jesus.  Mark 2:5 says "Seeing THEIR faith, Jesus told the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'"

This was basin theology at its best.  These four friends wouldn't be discouraged or deprived as they sought to have their paralyzed friend brought into the presence of Jesus.   They could have said, "We tried our best.  There was no way to get to Him."  But they persisted because they believed that Jesus was the only answer to their friend's need.  Jesus honored that persistent faith FIRST by meeting the man's spiritual need and then, by healing the man of his paralysis.  

Do you know what role we play as followers of Jesus?  Our job is NOT to transform people nor convict them of sins.  Our job is to bring them to Jesus and let Him do His work in their lives!

Here's what I want you to learn from this story.  This story further illustrates the truth that God's plan is for the Gospel to be taken to the whole world.  In "2 Peter 3:8-9, Peter reminds us that God does not delay His promise as some think, but is patient with you, not wanting ANY to perish, but ALL to come to repentance." (my emphasis)  See also Matthew 28:18-20

Second, this story tells us that God honors persistent faith.  We cannot be swift to retreat when we meet a little resistance. Resistance does not always mean a closed door.  We must be persistent in our prayer life, persistent with our witness, persistent with our invitations, and persistent with our love even when our friends resist the gospel.  We never know what the Holy Spirit has been doing in their lives and we must remember that, according to Peter, God's desire for their salvation is much greater that ours.  

Third, everyone of us has what Kenneth Hemphill has termed a 'SPLASH zone.'  That stands for Show People Love And Share Him.  Just as you can plan on getting splashed standing on the platform of a theme park water ride or standing beside a baby being bathed, be sure that your lost and unchurched friends are in your SPLASH zone.  Show them love as often as possible.  Be persistent in your actions and your prayers for them.  Don't worry about changing them.  Just earn their trust, be their friend, invite them into the presence of Jesus and let Him do His work.  

SO!  What's keeping you from bringing your friends to Jesus? Accept your responsibility as a witness to them.  Name and claim those you love in your prayers knowing that God desires their salvation more than you do.  (Matthew 18:19; Luke 18:1-8) Pick up your basin and trust the Holy Spirit to do His work.