It bugs me, inching along a gridlocked highway, watching well-paid construction workers, leisurely leaning up against earth-moving equipment, eating donuts and drinking coffee. Doesn’t anyone work anymore? Think it bothers me? Good guess!
Jesus performs amazing miracles here in Luke chapter 5. A net-breaking haul of fish when two seconds ago nary a bite. A man with leprosy healed, now clean as a whistle. Another day, in a tiny house, Jesus speaks to people who’ve travelled from all over.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law make their presence felt. Sitting on their hind quarters, watching and waiting for who-knows-what. A slip of the tongue? A rabbinic trap for Jesus to fall into, never to get out of again? Someone to finally do Him in?
They plunk themselves down, just sittin’ around, biding their time, hoping that Jesus will self-implode. ‘…Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there’ (Luke 5:17).
That’s when four friends carry a paralyzed man on a primitive stretcher, knowing that if they can get him to Jesus he’ll have a chance to be healed. But too many hoi-polloi are sitting around blocking their way. Can’t get close. No chance with all those housesitters crowding out the scene.
These friends will not be deterred. They climb a side stairway to the flat roof above. Can you imagine the dead weight of this paralytic, carried up on rickety steps that today would never pass code? Dangerous at best. Watch out! Could be a few more paralytics if off the side they go!
Doesn’t stop them. They’re not going to sit around when help is underneath this straw/grass roof. Some branches removed, and down goes their friend. No sittin’ around for these four. And no record of any religious leader lifting one finger to help.
Only criticism from their pearly lips. Whining and complaining, questioning and grousing. All while planted on their keisters and cabooses! They could have done better by this needy man.
Not only them. Me. Being more kind. Making room for others. Getting up and offering a helpful hand. Digging deeper into my wallet. Giving more. Less griping and more encouraging from my big, fat mouth.
Just me? Get up. Give a hand!
Thank you, Lord, that we can help others. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.