The wisdom of Jesus is inspirational, astounding, extraordinary, loving.
Do you ever feel like there's nothing you can do? That some people just won't see you for who you really are and change their opinion of you? Welcome back to Radical and Relevant. Where we are exploring the enduring wisdom of Jesus' teachings in our journey through Advent. And today's gospel from the fifth chapter of Luke's gospel, we hear about and encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. And we witness an epic example of friendship. On one of those days, he was teaching. There were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by who would come from every village of Galilea and Judea. And from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed. And they sought to bring him 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 Jesus' midst.
And when he saw their faith he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." And the scribes and Pharisees began to question saying, "Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but only God?" When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you question in your heart? Which is easier? To say your sins are forgiven you, or to say rise up and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins." He said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, rise up. Take your bed and go home." And immediately, he rose before them. And took up that which he lay on and went home glorifying God. And awe seems them all. And they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen incredible things today."
There's an old cartoon that shows Jesus walking on water on the front page of a newspaper. With a huge headline that reads, "Jesus can't swim." Do you ever feel like there is nothing you can do? Some people just don't want to see you for who you really are. Some people just refuse to change their opinion of you. Jesus can relate. This is exactly what happens each time he encounters the Pharisees. He provides ample proof that he is the long-awaited Messiah that has been prophesized about over and again in the Scriptures. But they won't see him for who he really is. They don't want him to be the Messiah. But the people, the people. They are not confused about who Jesus is. One reason is because rather than trying to understand him, they open their hearts to experience Jesus. That's the idea that touched me in this reading today. The Pharisees were constantly questioning Jesus despite the obvious evidence of his divine powers.
The word that jumps out at me today is awe. Awe is a sense of reverential respect and wonder. Children are experts at awe and wonder. They see miracles all around them, everywhere they go. We can foster a sense of awe by meditating upon God's vast and astounding creation. You can also foster a sense of awe by walking into any of the great cathedrals of the world. And by looking around, and looking up towards the heavens, we are overcome with a sense of awe. The phrase that strikes me in today's reading is, "But finding no way to bring him in, went up on the roof and lowered him into Jesus' midst." Wow. I want friends like that. I want friends who would go to those lengths to get me close to Jesus. And I want to be that kind of friend. This is one of the greatest displays of friendship in the New Testament. The gospels of Jesus are not old, and ancient, and irrelevant. They're new, and fresh, radical, and as relevant today as ever before. So go out into the world today and astonish people with your commitment to friendship. And remember, don't just be yourself. Be the very best version of yourself. All that God created you to be.
Thank you ambassadors! You are changing the world. Have a great day. Bye bye. Simon, come sit.
I love you. Have a great day!