Enter the Antagonists

Every good drama has a bad guy. He is the antagonist, the one who either does give the good guy fits or at least tries to give him fits. And the story of Jesus is no different. Luke 5.17 introduces the bad guys that Jesus will sturggle with from now until the end of his life. They are the Pharisees and the scribes. Even as far as Jerusalem these men came to see about this man who had the new teaching and with authority.

Now change the focus: here is a group of men carrying a paralytic to Jesus. See their great faith and they look for any possible way into the place where Jesus. If they can just get him to Jesus, everything will be ok. Jesus will make him well. Faced with no other option, they take their friend to the roof and starting digging through.

I suppose after the first big chunk of roof fell inside there was a ruckus as the people began to wonder what was going on. But Jesus knows and sees the faith of these men with the paralytic and, perhaps even knowing the attitude of the Pharisees and scribes who were present, utters the words in v.20: “your sins are forgiven.” What good news to hear from the lips of the Savior your sins are forgiven. And though we cannot raise the lame to walk again, we can communicate love and compassion to the spiritually lame who have been crippled by a fall and introduce them to the healing power of Jesus’ blood.

Filled with self-righteous indignation, the relgious leaders voice their disapproval…to themselves. Their assessment is correct that only God can forgive sins. But they fail to recognize that God is in their midst. The power of the Lord is present and it is manifest by the healing of the sick. Jesus does not need to hear their disapproval for he knows it already and will not back up not only his teaching but also his authority as the Son of God and the Christ by causing the paralytic to be healed.

I once had a conversation with a doctor I knew and he was explaining to me just how incredible the miracles are. This man has not walked for some time, perhaps his whole life. His legs have no doubt atrophied, his legs probably resembling sticks rather than legs. He is probably malnurished. And yet when Jesus merely speaks the word, his legs are stengthened, muscles that were not there are instantly developed and functioning, blood vessels that were not functioning as they should open up and bring blood to these new muscles, and his strength is restored to him so that stands up immediately. It is, in every sense of the word, a miracle.

I wonder what you are thinking right now. Everyone that saw the great work of the Lord praised God. What about us? We were once spiritual paralytics, held in bondage to the kingdom of darkness, unable to walk in the paths of rigtheousness. But when the Lord spoke word and forgave us all our sins, he made us well and caused us to walk. We ought to be praising God everyday for healing he has given. Do not be like the antagonists and harden your heart. Instead, rejoice with the crowds and declare, “we have seen remarkable things today.”