Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof…” -Luke 5:18-19
Jesus had been filled with “the power of the Lord.” On this particular occasion that power afforded Jesus the ability to heal and Jesus was healing people in great numbers. Word of this spread and eventually “some men” brought a “paralyzed man” to Jesus.
But a crowd had gathered, there was seemingly no way through that crowd. Did the men patiently wait their turn? Did they return home to hope for healing on another day?
Nope… if you know the story, you know these men made their way to the roof. After they had ascended, I assume they must have estimated where Jesus was sitting inside the structure, and then they started pulling up the tiles.
I wonder what our Lord thought as he carefully tended to a person in need, felt the first bits of dust fall upon his head, and then saw another person lowered from the heights…
Jesus was impressed by their faithfulness. The paralyzed man was offered healing and forgiveness. And then, I suppose his friends replaced the tiles and went on their way rejoicing.
There are a couple of aspects of this story that inspire me deeply. First, what we see here is an enduring devotion to the person in need. These folks that brought the “paralyzed man” to Jesus, were they friends, relatives, or neighbors? It’s hard to say, what we know for sure is they saw the need and were completely committed to doing everything in their power to find healing and wholeness. That kind of dedication is worthy of emulation.
Second, there is a sense of urgency that I hope to embrace in my own life of faith. Jesus was there, their hope had been realized, and one way or another these faithful folks would have an encounter with Christ… even if it meant crawling up on the roof, doing some impromptu renovation, and then orchestrating a dramatic entrance.
Knowing that we also have the opportunity to encounter Christ, I pray we seek out and enter into moments of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving with a similar kind of intention, enthusiasm, and conviction.
Question for reflection: How would you have felt if you had been waiting patiently only to see these men find a way to get to the front of line?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Wednesday evening the Bethlehem Book Club will be gathering at 6:30 to discuss Philip Yancey’s, “Where the Light Fell.”
On Saturday evening we will have worship at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 9:30.
Yours in Christ,
God of wisdom, may the beauty of your Word remind us of the expansiveness of your grace, inspire our praise, and equip us for meaningful service. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.