November 16, 2010
What was Jesus’ response to this interruption? When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (5:20). The Master accepted them because he saw their faith and knew their hearts. Contrary to these hearts of faith sat, “Pharisees and teachers of the Law from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem…” (5:17). Their hearts were faithless, and I suspect that they had no compassion within them.
Notice that the Pharisees did not assist the men with the paralytic. There was no room for the men to enter the house, this is true, but it appears that no efforts of assistance were seen on the Pharisees part. The Pharisees had no compassion for the paralyzed man. I’m sure that going in through the roof wasn’t their first option, but it turned out to be the only way as they tried unavailingly to wedge their way through pompous teachers of the Law.
Regardless, what was the Master’s response to this interruption? Was it not a response of love? “Friend, your sins are forgiven,” Jesus said. The Pharisees, on the other hand, were undoubtedly upset at the paralytic, but not the Master. He always seemed to make time for the needy, even at a seemingly inopportune time while all the religious leaders from miles away were listening to him.
The student of Jesus must learn how to respond in love when the needs of the poor interrupt the expectations of the religious. Always make time for the needy, accepting the opportunity to demonstrate love. A demonstration of love has more potency than a million words. Accept interruptions, like the Master, graciously. Learn how to be derailed yet still love.
(See also: Ezekiel 34:1-5)