Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bring Them To Jesus

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there.

Today, I sit and listen to Jesus' teaching by reading and meditating on Luke 5:17-26.

They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.

Jesus' power attracted people from all over the nation. His power was from the Lord - God, Creator, King, Jehovah. His power healed the sick. Is that power still operative today? Does Jesus still have power to heal? What sickness do I need to be healed? Which of my loved ones needs healing today?

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

What amazing friends these men were! How far did they have to carry their friend? What was their first reaction when they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd around him? Who came up with the idea to go up on the roof? These friends were not going to let a little resistance stop them. They kept at it until they had brought their friend to Jesus. This is the role of a true friend - to bring our "sick and needy loved ones to Jesus". How does a woman do this for her husband? Can she "bring him to Jesus for healing"? I believe this is another task of an ezer kenegdo, a strong helper.

When Jesus saw their faith,

Jesus notices their faith. Was this inclusive, meaning the paralyzed man had faith too? But it seems that the faith of the friends was effective for him too. My faith - in who Jesus is - is seen by the Lord. Lord, give us more faith, for you say that faith the size of grain of mustard seed is sufficient.

he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The first thing Jesus did was forgive his sins. Jesus got to the priority first - heart condition, eternal state, spiritual healing. Lord Jesus, please continue to heal my friends and loved ones spiritually. Touch their souls, give them faith, teach them what it means that you love them and died for them, that your death was sufficient so they do not have to be a slave to sin, addiction, fear, anxiety, greed, pride.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Which of course if they had understood, they would have realized that -duh- that means he's God.

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?

The New English Translation says, “Why are you raising objectives within yourself?” What objections am I raising? It takes too long. Why doesn't God just take away the struggle? Why is the battle so hard? Why not just heal miraculously, in an instant?

Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

What is easier? To forgive sins or heal physically? Jesus is actually doing the harder thing by taking the long, slow road to healing. He's proving he's God. He's giving my friends and loved ones increased faith and power to fight. He's transforming them into the persons he has designed them to be.

So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

What remarkable things have I seen? Progress, perseverance, faith, love, intimacy. Lord, please keep doing your work of healing. And I will keep bringing my friends and loved ones to You. I will exercise faith on their behalf, and try to strengthen and encourage them (Acts 15:32).

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