Mark 2: 1-3
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the 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. Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them.
Matthew 9: 32
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
Matthew 14: 35-36
And when the men of that place recognised Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all who were ill to him and begged him to let those who were ill just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
Matthew 19: 13
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
Mark 7: 32
There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
Luke 4: 40
At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of illness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.
We're looking at the story of the paralytic in Mark 2. Notice how the 4 men didn’t just invite their paralysed friend to the house where Jesus was, they didn’t expect him to find Jesus on his own. They brought him to Jesus.
They probably chatted the night before and made plans: "We’ll pick you up (literally) at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning." And at 9 am they were at his door to give him a lift.
Why did they bring him? Because he was paralysed – he would never have made it to Jesus on his own. He desperately needed Jesus. Jesus was his only hope. And yet without the help of these 4 men he would never have made it to Jesus.
The people you work with, your family, your friends, your neighbours – they desperately need Jesus. They need Jesus to save them, to forgive them, to heal them, to set them free from destructive habits and addictions, to give them peace and joy that they’re missing and to bring them life. But most of them aren’t going to make it to Him on their own. They’re going to need your help. They’re unlikely to wake up on Sunday morning and think: "I want to go to church and find out more about Jesus." But they are likely to wake up thinking: "Why do I feel so empty? Where can I turn? Is this all there is to life? How can I get rid of this guilt and shame? Is there anyone out there who really loves me?" All really good questions – but they need someone to carry them to Jesus for answers.
20 – 30 years ago most people who weren’t in church had been there at some stage but had left because they largely found it irrelevant and boring. And so if you made services more lively, preached more relevant sermons, often they would come back. It’s a totally different scenario today. Most people today don’t even think that church has any place in their lives, it’s just not even on their radar. They just have no concept of what place God or church might even have for them.
And yet, what I find time and time again is that people are much more open to Jesus than I give them credit for. Often we say 'no' for people before they do. We assume that they wouldn’t want to come to church, that they wouldn’t want us to pray for them, that they wouldn’t want to talk about real issues of life and faith. And what I have found is that most of our assumptions are wrong.
They don’t want religion, they don’t want judgmentalism and hypocrisy, they don’t want dead rituals and dry boring church services – but they do want Jesus. They just need to see him, to encounter him as he really is and often they will welcome him gladly.
We are all called to be bringers. To bring people to Jesus. We don’t save them – He does that. We just bring them.
It’s great to invite someone to your church – it’s even better to bring them.
It’s one to invite someone to something like Alpha – it’s another thing to bring them.
There’s no greater joy than helping someone come into a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus said: "Go into ALL the world, preach the Gospel, make disciples." If we are not doing that as churches, then we have no right to keep our doors open. Churches who stopped making this their mission are the churches that are closing every week. And those churches should close. Jesus will never bless a church that isn’t doing what he called us to do. It’s His church. And He loves people. Especially those far from Him right now.
Be a bringer. Bring people to Jesus.