June 24, 2022

“One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. 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. 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.” – Luke 5:17-19

I must admit this has always been one of my favorite passages of scripture. In one brief story, Luke offers the church a beautiful visual of the love we are called to have for our neighbors. The story begins with Jesus teaching the experts and ends with everyone bewildered by what they have witnessed.

It is not Jesus’ teaching that necessarily amazes all who have gathered in this house. It is the love of God and the love of neighbors that bring about the amazing events of this day. While Jesus was teaching, some men came to the house carrying a paralyzed man on his cot.  The crowd that gathered to hear Jesus teach was so large that it prevented the men from bringing the crippled man directly to Jesus. That did not deter them. They grabbed hold of the cot and made their way to the roof of the house, determined to get their friend to Jesus so that he might find healing.

While Jesus was teaching, the men pulled back the roof and lowered their friend right in front of Jesus. Such a bold action! The scripture goes on to say that when Jesus saw the faith of the friends, he offered forgiveness and healing to the paralyzed man. As this scene unfolds in front of the great teachers and legal experts of the day, Luke tells us, “All the people were beside themselves with wonder. Filled with awe, they glorified God, saying, ‘We’ve seen unimaginable things today’.”

This inspiring scene comes to life because people, who were inspired by the love of God, were willing to go out of their way to offer love and kindness to a paralyzed man who needed healing desperately.  When those men who were carrying the cot arrived to find the crowd so large that they could not pass, they looked for another way. They knew that getting their friend to Jesus was his hope for healing and they did not stop until he was in front of Jesus.

As God’s people, we are called to look to the needs of our neighbors.  If we have the ability to offer hope, healing, and forgiveness, then like the friends in this story, we should go as far and as high as possible to do so. This is what the loving kindness of God has done for us.  This is what God’s love compels us to do for others.  This is how we build a better world.

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship