Whose legs are you?

Luke 5:17-26

The paralyzed man was not the star of the show, it wasn’t his faith that made a difference. He was merely the means used to display Jesus’ power. The friends were the ones with the faith. When he saw their faith, Jesus said, Friend, your sins are forgiven you.Luke 5:20  What? This isn’t what they were expecting or hoping for. They wanted their friend to be cured. 

Yet, somehow, breaking through the roof demonstrated faith. Faith is a complete trust and confidence in something or someone. Their faith rested on the relationship and love they shared with one another. They would be the legs of this friend, he could count on that.  

This commitment to loving their friend is what impressed Jesus. This man didn’t need physical healing, he would always be carried in love. Jesus instead gave him an inner healing – hope, a sense of belonging to God’s family and a spiritual cleansing. 


Then the scribes and Pharisees began to question, Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone? When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is  easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Stand up and walk?But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins – he said to the one who was paralyzed – I say to you, stand up and take up your bed and go to your  home.Immediately he stood up, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home glorifying God. Luke 5:22-25

The paralytic needed spiritual healing, Jesus gave it. He then offered the scribes what they needed, proof of his authority to forgive sins through his healing power.

Notice the efficiency of God, in offering the scribes what they needed, the paralyzed man received his legs! 

Whose legs are you? Does your faith carry wounded people as you go, just so they won’t be left behind? Who are your legs? Will you trust God to give what is needed, not what you think is needed?

Do you need God to come near?

John the baptizer had his time, but with his arrest it was at an end. Now it is Jesus’ time. John was Advent, Jesus is Christmas. John was pregnancy, Jesus is birth. John prepared hearts for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus is the Messiah.

A man’s singleness ends with his wedding. His hope for a life with a partner is fulfilled on his wedding day. His waiting is complete and a new season of life begins. Jesus’ arrival is the wedding. His coming is the fulfillment of time, the waiting for God’s messiah is completed. Jesus, the Messiah, is come and with him good news.

Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news.’

With these few words Jesus declares his definition of the good news.

The good news he proclaims is that the Kingdom of God has come near. Notice this subtle, but very important aspect of Jesus’ gospel, the Kingdom has come near. God’s promise spoken through Moses is realized in Jesus’ arrival.

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.  – Deuteronomy 30:11-14

You don’t need to go anywhere or do anything special or religious to access it. God is the one who moves close, you just need to stand still. God’s Kingdom will come near to you. This is truly good news!

Yet, the good news Jesus preaches calls for a response on our part. The Kingdom has come near, therefore, we must repent and believe. John also preached about the need for repentance, but his was for forgiveness of sins; backwards thinking, erasing our past. Jesus’ call to repentance is forward thinking, it is an invitation to act differently because we believe God’s Kingdom is here, now. The good news is not just about the forgiveness of our sins; it is believing and living from the reality that God is among us, God has drawn near.

The rest of Mark’s Gospel explains how to repent and believe.

Imitating Jesus

Imitate Jesus, as you do your yoga instructor

Imitating Jesus (some thoughts on the gospel of Mark)

As a neophyte, I kept my eyes fixed on the yoga instructor, attempting to reproduce in my body and breath what I was witnessing in hers. I wasn’t just following her instructions, I was imitating her (albeit poorly). She walked from student to student correcting, aligning and encouraging us; assuring me that if I continued my efforts, I would eventually have a beautiful practice.

I want my life to be a beautiful practice. Following Jesus and imitating his actions and character is the way to achieve it.

Jesus stepped out of obscurity into the river Jordan. Like the rest of the Judean world, he followed John the Baptizer into the wilderness. He entered the waters of baptism and the world was changed.

John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This concept was nothing particularly new; previously, though, people would go to the temple for such an activity. Now they are pouring into the wilderness. This change of location suggests a new and radical way of accessing God. And this shift is only the beginning.

John’s baptism was almost a tease. Sent to prepare the way for the real deal, his preaching asked “Want a different way of life?” Then “repent” he instructed. Repentance is a change of mind and a commitment to act differently than you have in the past. This decision to live differently, though, will not be enough.

Speaking of the one who comes after him he says “I baptize with water, but HE will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” My baptism is external. The water that marks your decision will be dry within minutes and you’ll need to remind yourself to act differently. But HIS baptism will be with the Holy Spirit, it will be an internal and eternal mark that will not only remind you to act differently, it will empower you do to so.

Our preparation for the Messiah’s advent is o desire a different future, one free of past mistakes and misdeeds . Own your longing, grieve your sins, heed the voice of John, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”