Setting A NEW PRECEDENT
“We never saw it on this fashion…”
BY: CHASE NOEL
“And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee… Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 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” (Mark 2:1-5, 11-12).
From the onset of His earthly ministry Jesus was doing things no one had seen before.
He was casting out demons, teaching with peculiar authority, and calling men of ordinary trade to extraordinary service. His encounter with this paralyzed man was no exception. In this story Jesus did two things that the surprised onlookers had never seen. He forgave a man of His sins (wait, only God is allowed to do that?!?) and cured him of a devastating disease. A life defined by weakness was suddenly transformed.
The people were astonished at what they had witnessed. Scripture says they glorified God, exclaiming:
“…We never saw it on this fashion” (Mark 2:12).
There was no precedent on how to react to a man like Jesus because there had never been a man like Jesus.
This was an unprecedented man with an unprecedented message that would rock the Jewish religious system.
This was the same religious system that was on the heels of a 400-year prophetic drought. 400 YEARS of silence, not a single word from the God who promised to lead them, deliver them, and heal them. These were the same people who, in their lifetime had never had a personal interaction with the power or the presence of God. They were seeing something they had never seen before. Hope, 400 years dead, had suddenly been brought back to life in a virgin’s womb. Salvation’s song penned by the prophets of old, now manifest itself in the body of a man, the likes of which the world had never seen before. The accumulation of these unprecedented events created an environment of religious tension that ultimately culminated at the cross. These events defied the laws of nature and physics, and made Christ’s divine identity undeniable.
This was no ordinary man.
The miracles Jesus performed served as evidence to His extraordinary nature. After all, what other man would have the authority to say: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Claims like this are what brought Jesus’ followers to an unprecedented decision. Everyone marveled at His miracles, but not all were moved by His message. But the message of Christ demanded more than just to be amazed, it called for repentance, for transformations, for sacrifice, and obedience. It's easy to watch in amazement at a Savior who perfectly preaches and practices these things, its another thing entirely to take up your cross and follow Him. Jesus’ miracles were sensational to everyone, but His words, were only received by some. In the end, it’s our response to His revealed Word that will judge us, not our response to His performed miracles.
Jesus was ushering in a new kingdom and with it He was setting a new precedent for what it meant to have faith in God.
Jesus redefined religion and challenged the worship practices of the day saying, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28.) Jesus wasn’t adding to the Old Testament law, He was fulfilling it. He was living it out perfectly right before their eyes…This was something they’d never seen or heard before. This was unprecedented. But Jesus went a step further and called them to do the same. To live out in Spirit what was written in the letter of the law. To let the word of God get inside of them and change their attitudes and actions. To let the word of God become a transforming power that would conform them to image if Christ. For a long time people had only see dead faith and empty religion. Now Christ was calling them to a living, moving, culture shaking, revolutionary kind of faith. This kind of faith would turn the world upside down.
Just as the people said of Jesus’ encounter with the paralytic, “We never saw it on this fashion…” (Mark 2:12), I can imagine those who heard Jesus’ sermons, parables, and even His prayers, saying with the same wonder: “We never heard it like that…”
But Jesus came proclaiming the message that in His kingdom hearing and seeing aren’t enough. The deeper our revelation of Jesus goes, the higher our obligation to His word should grow. It seems logical to conclude that Jesus is calling us to an unprecedented level of commitment and obedience. John 1 says Jesus was the Word in human form. The very words of God, living, breathing, and fulfilling every commandment and promise of the Old Testament. And just like those New Testament witnesses, this revelation should bring us to the point of decision: What we will do with Jesus, What will we do with his words?
Read them? Yes. Hear them? Absolutely. But like Christ the time has come to live them, breathe them, and fulfill them before the eyes of a lost world. And perhaps this generation too will look on with amazement and glorify God saying, “We never saw it on this fashion.”