Thursday, March 15, 2012

Nobody Here But Us Paralytics - How I recently discovered a new way to look at grace.

Lately, whenever I feel like a failure for missing my (self-imposed) weblog deadlines, I tend to think of posts on the subject of grace. If it's a pattern, I've only just now begun to realize it.

Patterns are fun, right? I get pretty psyched about palindromes and finding abecedarian words. But I've never taken the time to look back through my now 150 posts to see if there are any long-running themes to The Press.

Do you know how many times I think I've written a post before, but don't take the time to confirm my suspicions? I'm on a tight schedule most days. I'm busy. Or my wife wants me to watch Battlestar Galactica with her.

If I were to look back through my posts, I wonder how many of them would have comparisons of how I understood the Bible as a kid and how I understand it now. Having read the Bible a few times already, I became familiar with many of the passages. While that's sort of a goal in reading the Bible, I also find it's easy to skim over the familiar parts because I don't think I need to learn the same thing twice.

But then, if I take the time, I always learn something new in the familiar. This time it happened while I read the story of Jesus healing a paralytic man in Luke 5:17-26.

A large crowd had gathered around a house where Jesus taught and healed people. "And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking 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 midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." Then Jesus heals the guy. The dude carries his own bed (I imagine it was more like a rug I slept on for a few months) out of the meeting.

Now this is interesting. Jesus forgave the sins of the man and healed him. But this could give you a theological headache if you think about it. What did this guy do to receive either forgiveness or healing? Did he pray a certain prayer of repentance? Did he even ask for healing? Based on the text, it looks like they just wanted to be near Jesus.

Here's my new reason for loving this story. The guy couldn't do anything for himself. He was completely helpless. Just like me. By forgiving and healing this man, Jesus gives an amazing demonstration of grace.

Now I'm sure there's more to this story, more lessons, more ways to understand my relationship with Jesus. I expect this story will get more interesting the more familiar I become with it.

No comments: