Friday, December 11, 2015

Jesus knows the Cost of Grace, He Offers It Anyway

"Seeing [the four friends'] faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man,
'My child, your sins are forgiven'" (Mark 2:5).
Max Lucado retelling a story in Mark 2:1-5 in his book He Still Moves Stones (1993): “Whether he was born paralyzed – the end result was the same: total dependence on others… When people looked at him, they didn’t see the man; they saw a body in need of a miracle. That’s not what Jesus saw, but that’s what the people saw. So they did what any of us would do for a friend. They tried to get him some help…

By the time his friends arrived at the place, the house was full. People jammed the doorways. Kids sat in the windows. Others peeked over shoulders. How would this small band of friends ever attract Jesus’ attention? They had to make a choice. Do we go in or give up?

What would have happened had the friends given up? What if they had shrugged their shoulders and mumbled something about the crowd being big and dinner getting cold and turned and left? After all, they had done a good deed in coming this far. Who could fault them for turning back? You can only do so much for somebody. But these friends hadn’t done enough.

One said that he had an idea. The four huddled over the paralytic and listened to the plan to climb the top of the house, cut through the roof, and lower their friend down with their sashes.

It was risky – they could fall. It was dangerous – he could fall. It was unorthodox – de-roofing is antisocial. It was intrusive – Jesus was busy. But it was their only chance to see Jesus. So they climbed to the roof.

Faith does these things. Faith does the unexpected. And faith gets God’s attention… Jesus was moved by the scene of faith. So he applauds – if not with his hands, at least with his heart. And not only does he applaud, he blesses. And we witness a divine loveburst.

The friends want him to heal their friend. But Jesus won’t settle for a simple healing of the body – he wants to heal the soul. He leapfrogs the physical and deals with the spiritual. To heal the body is temporal; to heal the soul is eternal… So strong was his love for this crew of faith that he went beyond their appeal and went straight to the cross.

Jesus already knows the cost of grace. He already knows the price of forgiveness. But he offers it anyway. Love bursts in his heart… And though we can’t hear it here, the angels can hear him there. All of heaven must pause as another burst of love declares the only words that really matter: “Your sins are forgiven.””

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