Monday, December 6, 2010

12/6/10 - Rise, Get Up, And Walk

Luke 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,
“As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,
“What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he said to the one who was paralyzed,
“I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
“We have seen incredible things today.”

My reflection is disconnected this morning and I don't have time to weave it together. :)

  • This is the first account in Luke's gospel of Jesus forgiving sins. The religious leaders see Christ's forgiveness of sins as blasphemous. Christ responds to that with a miracle to demonstrate his deity.
  •  "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." There was a time in my life where these words really spoke to me about the need to cooperate with God as we ask for his help. It was a time where I was fighting off depression, and really didn't have the will to do much of anything. I went to mass and heard Mark's account of this episode, and I realized that for the paralytic to be healed, he needed to rise and walk himself. If he'd just lain there, nothing would have happened, He had to believe he was healed, and then get up and put one foot in front of the other. It's the same way with us. 
  • Christ identified himself as the "Son of Man". See the short article below. This is a small taste of the study of "Christology", which in my opinion is very much worth the time. (copied and pasted from: )
"Son of Man" is one of the more interesting and enigmatic titles of Jesus. It used 81 times in the Gospels, and always by Jesus himself. No other character in the Gospel narratives nor any other biblical writer uses the term. Various explanations have been offered as to why Jesus employed the term and others did not. It may have been a term Jesus could use early in his ministry without inciting much hostility, because of its various meanings, but that would later encompass his messianic claims. The early Christian writers may have been reluctant to use it because the Greek phrase is somewhat ambiguous (Jesus would have used the simpler Aramaic term).
To determine what Jesus meant by the phrase, Biblical scholars turn to its use in the Old Testament. There the term "Son of Man" is used in three main contexts: 
  • an address to the prophet Ezekiel (e.g. Ezekiel 2:1);
  • to refer to humanity in general, especially its lowliness when compared to God and the angels (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 8:14); and
  • to refer to an eschatological figure whose coming signals the end of history (Daniel 7:13-14). 
Jesus appears to use the phrase especially in the third sense. He uses the phrase "Son of Man" when speaking of his roles of saving and judging (e.g. Mk 10:45; Mt 25:31) and of the future coming of an exalted, heavenly figure (e.g. Mt 13:41, 24:30; Mk 14:62; Lk 18:8).

(NOTE : in our passage today, Christ identifies himself as the Son of Man and claims the authority to forgive sins, so it is consistent with this third sense described above)