Monday, February 15, 2010

Notes to the Lord:The Faith of Friends

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 9:1-7
1Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

Lord Jesus--The connection between the internal issue of sin and the external experience of health, wealth or whatever I consider “blessings” is one that I can get so mixed up at times. In watching the healings that You performed, there were times when You clearly make the connection between sin and the external condition of the person who is seeking healing.

I suspect that there is no ambiguity on the part of the person, their condition is clear to them. It remains unclear from the outside looking in, and there is comfort in that. The dirty laundry was not hung out for all to see and for this paralytic to cringe at in an embarrassed silence.

The reality is life takes its toll physically, silly decisions that appear at the time to be good ideas result in lost sleep, hard work and stomach upset. What was the apparent “good idea” that got this man paralyzed and on that mat? Was it an attempt to impress his friends? I will never know, but I am sure I have had some of those same kind of “good ideas.”

3At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!"

This private interchange was over heard by those who jealously guarded the public good. They are right if anyone else had said this it would have been blasphemy. But for Messiah it was Your duty.

Isaiah 53:4
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

Taking on our infirmities cost You Lord Jesus. The shadow of the cross reached down to this man on a mat brought by his friends to the master to be healed.

It is revealing of the quality of this paralyzed man’s friends. You saw their faith—the faith of this paralized man's friends …that You could bring restoration to this crumpled and maimed body of their friend.

4Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...."

There was validation of Your identity in the healing of our infirmities. There was the call to discipleship and the acceptance forgiveness of sins. I wonder if there wasn’t a sense of conviction and guilt in the hearts of these teachers of the law as they thought of their own sin and their own need. Where were the places in their own hearts, minds and actions that needed the healing hands of the Son of God?

Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

Lord Jesus--It is ironic and sad that the freedom of a paralytic from his bed of pain brought you one step closer to the cross. Where are the places where my legalism and judgmentalism limits Your work Lord Jesus? Who are the people that I need to have more faith in and pray for that You can bring about change in their lives.
Help me to be the kind of friend that this man had as they brought him to You.

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