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 paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
I love this story. The first thingI noticed is the dilemma these men overcame. Jesus, surrounded by a crowd and yet rumored to be a healer, was the perfect destination for this paralyzed man.And yet, they had to not only get him to Jesus but through the crowd! The lengths to which they went are really amazing. Imagine how difficult it would be to carry someone and then lift him onto the roof, dig a hole, AND LOWER HIM DOWN?! The desire to get this man toJesus was evident in the desperate and exhausting journey.
But they do not journey in vain.Jesus responds to their efforts and forgives the man’s sins. What a beautiful reminder that the deepest hole we need filled is the void that sin brings. God doesn’t see the differently abled as less-than, but rather pursues the common need that all humanity shares, forgiveness!
But since those around had trouble seeing Jesus’ proclamation as a declaration of his divinity, he goes one step further. Jesus does the miraculous so that they can see the greater miracle.
Do we understand our need for Jesus? Are we desperate to get to him? Right now, as I sit in my home on self-quarantine with my kiddos, I am already missing my church community. I miss my Sunday morning hugs and the convenience of a Sunday morning church service as a place set aside forGod. During this season, we must journey towards Jesus. It’s going to look different and it may take a greater effort on our part, but if this story teaches us anything, it’s that Jesus will return our efforts to meet with him.He will meet our journey with forgiveness. Quarantine is not separation fromGod. It is yet another opportunity to draw near to the one who draws near to us.