Now why did he say that?
The other day I was getting our four-year-old daughter ready for nursery. We were messing around together and happened to lightly bump heads. It was one of those moments where you feel terrible. I expected a whimper or maybe some tears. What I didn’t expect was a fully-fledged telling off.
My four-year-old looked at me with a very serious face, put on her most adult like voice and told me that I should be more sensible. That I should pay more attention to others and I needed to be more careful as I played. Nursery teachers, I think she’s getting it!
Why do I mention that? Sometimes people say things we don’t expect and over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking of an occasion when Jesus did that. It took place in a town called Capernaum – you can visit the remains today by the Sea of Galilee – where Jesus was teaching and preaching.
There was a man who couldn’t walk and so his friends carried him on a mat to see Jesus. They had heard that Jesus could heal people and they wanted their friend to be able to walk again. When they got to the house where Jesus was there were so many people that the crowd was spilling out of the door. With no way for them to get their friend to Jesus, what would they do?
The Bible tells us they went up the stairs on the side of the house and took the man onto the roof. Then they made a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus. Now when I read this there are all kinds of questions that fire off in my mind. How did they have the nerve to dig through someone’s roof? How did people respond in the house as the dust started to fall and then, suddenly, there was a hole in the roof?
Yet, the hole is not the most striking thing that happened. No, that prize goes to the words that Jesus spoke next. Jesus looked at the man who couldn’t walk and had come for healing and said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’ (Luke 5:20). Later we are told Jesus does heal him and everyone was amazed – you would be wouldn’t you? But that was not the first thing Jesus did.
So why does Jesus start there? The Bible teaches that being right with God, of which forgiveness of sin is a necessary part, is more important than being right in our bodies. We live in a time when a lot is made of our physical health and taking care of ourselves so that our bodies last for as long and as well as possible. Should we not also consider our spiritual health?
One of the key things we do when we meet together Sunday by Sunday is to look at the Bible to see what God has told us about himself, ourselves and how we can be right with him. You’re more than welcome to come and join us.