By Mollie Bond
Scene One: Noises of the house party warm your heart, after all, important people have accepted your invitation, including the doctor! Some dust falls from your ceiling. When the boards start splitting in your roof, a few guests glance either at your or the ceiling. You wonder if the wife had a hankering for a new sunlight and forgot to tell you, so now she is getting your attention. It starts to look brighter in the room as a huge hole opens up, just enough for a man to come through. And then he does. “And…Scene!”
Scene Two: You slam the door shut to your pickup, wondering, “Who can afford a house like this?” You’ve got three friends and a sick friend with you. He’s had cancer for years, and this is a last ditch attempt to get the doctor’s attention. You have come prepared—saw, work gloves, and the pickup truck holding a nasty old couch with your dying friend. He’s going to see the doctor today. “And…Scene!”
Scene Three: The disease is desperate to take your life. You’ve got some pretty good friends, but this is going too far. Too weak to care, you rather ponder how much it will cost to get the roof replaced after the lawsuit that you are sure is also coming to take your life. Maybe there will be enough to get something wild in your last days after replacing the stranger’s roof. Why not replace the worn carpet at home? Maybe get the bogus red to match the 70’s print couch. The very same couch you are now riding on to get to the doctor. “And…Scene!”
These three scenes correlate to not only the same story, but a true story told in the vernacular. The true story: “One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (Luke 5:17-20).
The scene is set. This is close to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. So many people wanted to see him, it’d be like the paparazzi had the facebook warning he’d be at this party. Then these fellows decide to ruin a perfectly good mud and straw roof and lower this sickly guy down. The sick man is probably dirty, smells, and definitely unwelcome. So Jesus says, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (v. 20).
The guests of the party had issues. “Who does this guy think he is, forgiving sins? Only God can that!” they say. “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….’ He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God” (Luke 5:21-25).
Jesus heals the sick friend, instantaneously. Why did Jesus make everyone upset, and then give them a “warm fuzzy”? Jesus always went straight for what lasted longer. The man would eventually die of something else, but at least he had the chance at eternal life. Jesus kept his eternal perspective at all times. His focus saved others. It’s the fourth scene.
Good story, but how does it apply? Answer this question for yourself. Which perspective do you have: The house owner, passively watching; the driver of the pickup, actively getting your friend to Jesus; or the sick man, who not only needs help physically, but first needs sins forgiven? Decide before the eternal director calls out, “And…Scene!”