Jesus was “at home” in Capernaum, twenty miles from Nazareth. So many sick and needy people came to see Him there that there was no way to get in the door. Four companions of a paralytic man began to dismantle the roof tiles in order to lower their friend down into the middle of the room. Jesus’ response? “Son, your sins are forgiven.” This was offensive to “some of the scribes” who thought it was an overreach by the miracle worker. The Lord gave this substitute plan: “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” The crowd loved it. “We have never seen anything like this!”
Those who were committed to the system of Jewish rituals taught by the other rabbis were not amused. They did not like the company that Jesus kept and the rules that He refused to follow. In short, they believed that He could not be the Messiah if He did not submit to their version of bad religion. Jesus had table fellowship with “many tax collectors and sinners” because “those who are well have no need of a physician.” His disciples did not fast as others did in light of their great joy regarding the coming of the “bridegroom” of God’s covenant people. Someone “new” had arrived on the scene of ancient Israel. It was no time to be critical and glum.
Those who opposed Jesus could not resist the temptation to grumble. “His disciples began to pluck heads of grain on the Sabbath,” and the Pharisees wondered how that could possibly be permissible. They were so steeped in their strange additions to the Law that they had missed the wonder of the new King sent from heaven.
Jesus did not let Himself be knocked off course by anyone’s negative attitude. He came to rescue the meek. The unexpected God was beginning to remove the chains that had held humanity in bondage for far too long.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, we come together in worship to hear Your Son and to be close to Him who has drawn near to the church by His Word and Spirit. Thank You for forgiveness and for the divine power to make a man rise and walk. Lord, throw off from us the paralysis of hatred and doubt, that we might live by faith. Help us to turn away from the love of money and the approval of men as we receive the healing of body and soul that is a gift from our holy Bridegroom. We mourn because of our transgression, but we rejoice with the news of the full salvation that is ours through Jesus. We will serve You forever and rest in our King. We are His disciples and we will listen to His voice.