Luke 5: 17-26
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. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 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. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 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?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Where is the Church in this story?
Are we the house full of people? A packed church is a successful church, right?
Are we the 4 men carrying the paralytic demonstrating faith for their paralysed friend? Bring people to Jesus is what we do, right?
Are we the religious leaders, the custodians of all that is righteous and not? Keeping a moral compass is our task in this fallen world, right?
Are we the paralysed man who is without power and is broken inside and out?
Or are we Jesus? What picture of Jesus is the Church portraying? A Jesus who gathers? Surely that is the goal. A Jesus who preaches? Yes, we all need to become better at that. A Jesus who challenges mind-sets of the religious? Yes to all these things. But one thing that seems to be lacking, one thing that we must seek, one thing that we come close to on many occasions and when it is demonstrated we marvel and we cheer.
The Church needs to be Jesus with authority:
- An authority that is heard in our speech – Why does this fellow talk like that?
- An authority that makes us like Christ – He’s blaspheming!
- An authority that brings a loving new direction to people – Who can forgive sins but God alone?
- An authority that re-writes the story of broken people – He got up, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
- An authority for this generation – We have seen remarkable things today!