By Bob Bunn
Sometimes truth comes from the strangest and most unexpected of places. I tell you this because I’m about to quote the Rolling Stones. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not lifting up a rock band as a paradigm of moral purity, and I’m not suggesting that seminaries should include their lyrics in theology classes.
But there’s something to the old classic song that tells us, “You can’t always get what you want.” If you pay attention, though, you’ll “get what you need.”
Do what you will with the rest of the song, but those words hold truth. If you doubt it, just think about how most of us live our lives. We run around thinking we know exactly what we need, and we chase it with all of our heart. Then, when we actually grab on, we realize that what we wanted has absolutely nothing to with what we really need.
Honestly, we’d be better off taking more time to identify what matters most in life and letting everything else fall into place around that.
I’m reminded of this truth when I read about Jesus’s encounter with the paralyzed man in Mark 2:1–12. On one hand, this guy and his friends thought they knew what he needed, and they went to incredible lengths to get it done. If you’ve got friends who will carry you across town and tear up a roof to see you get healed, you’re a blessed man!
But Jesus saw a bigger need—both for the man and for the crowd in the house. While everyone else saw their dogged determination to help their friend, Jesus saw their faith (v.5). And faith opens the door for forgiveness.
The man wanted to walk, but he needed salvation more than anything else. He was going to get what he wanted, but only after he got what he needed.
As for the crowd, they got what they needed, as well. They had filled the house to hear Jesus teach, but they walked away understanding that He was so much more than a miracle-working rabbi. He did what only God could do—forgive sins—because He is God.
Jesus heals, but Jesus also forgives. As the Son of God and Savior of the world, neither is more difficult for Him than the other, but one is ultimately more important than the other. So, while He stands ready to give people what they think they want, His driving passion is to meet their deepest need!
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