Reflection on 40 Days with Wesley by Rueben Job
Day 18: Forgiveness
I admit, I read ahead yesterday and I was delighted to re-read the scripture from the fifth chapter of Luke. This is a comforting and troubling passage which I have been pondering all day. I love to imagine the scene where the men lower the paralyzed man to Jesus. This is community at its best—seeing someone in need, problem-solving, finding a way to overcome obstacles, and doing the necessary work to bring the one in need of healing to the Great Physician. And, it works. The man is healed. This is my kind of community. Where do you see yourself in the story? Most often, I picture myself doing the lowering. How rewarding to see that you have made a difference in the life of someone else!
Sometimes I picture myself as the helpless one on a stretcher waiting for someone to notice I am in need of healing. And, I find joy in thinking about having friends like the men who responded to the one in need. These are the kind of friends I want to have—ones you can count on—ones that will notice and respond when you have a need and don’t have what it takes to get yourself there on your own. They see to it that you get where you need to be, even if it means they have to endure your kicking and screaming along the way.
The scripture says, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” and the man was healed. I admit that I find the word ‘their’ a bit troubling. I want Jesus to say, ‘his’—his faith made a difference in his being healed. Was Jesus healing the man because of the faith of his friends? Or because of the faith of his friends? Or because of his friends and his faith? What forgiveness was needed? Did he ask for forgiveness by his mere presence? So many unanswered questions.
I am less troubled by the text when picturing the men doing the lowering as the men and women who have been attending the Lenten Wesleyan classes with me on Wednesday night and Sunday morning. They challenge me to pay attention and to remove obstacles that may prevent me from fully witnessing the power of God at work in my life and in the lives of others. Through their stories and witness of where God is at work in their lives, they draw me closer to Jesus. They bring me face to face with Jesus. And, in those encounters there is love, forgiveness, acceptance and healing. It is mighty powerful!
If you have insights about this scripture, I would love you to leave a comment. We can all learn from one another! Also, feel free to comment about something else in the devotion that spoke to you.