Once, when Jesus was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. “Go,” he said, “and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.” But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. 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 and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” Luke 5:12-26
Some days, each of us struggles to have the faith we want or even need. When pain in our body, or pain in our spirits overwhelms us, we feel abandoned, forgotten and even faithless. We secretly wonder where God is in all of this. We think God keeps away from us, or we are too broken to deal with, or some other misguided feeling that is completely natural to us humans. And we hear the voices of our past, the ones who told us how broken and unworthy we are.
Jesus is surrounded by a crowd so thick that the paralyzed man can get no where near for healing. His friends don't give up though, they climb to the roof and lower him down, right in front of Jesus. The religious leaders complain and say that God prohibits Sabbath healing. They think God is bound by human rules and that love cannot work around crowds and bad attitudes. We find out that God incarnate, right in the midst of the aching crowd, is willing to heal everyone and honor the faith and compassion of our friends when we are unable to have strength or faith to believe for ourselves.
Today I ask God to help me be one of those who breaks through the roof. May we live with compassion and faith, trusting that God is more willing to heal than we can ever imagine. There is enough love to break down any human made barriers so that we can all be transformed by God.