Cutting in line
Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
- Mark 2:3-5
Look beyond the property damage for a moment. Can you see the major social breach of etiquette in today’s passage?
The crowd gathered in an orderly and civil way to hear Jesus teach. All eyes and ears focused on him. Deep listening. Learning.
Those who got there first got the best seats. Or perhaps, given the nature of the culture of the era, the best seats may have been reserved for the most respectable members of the community. Any pushing and shoving that might have taken place as the crowd formed would have quieted down as the crowd settled in to listen to Jesus.
But the paralytic’s friends cut in line.
If you were in the crowd, you would have experienced three things when the friends razed the roof: an interruption to the teaching, an interference with the experience, and an invitation to witness. (Did you notice they all started with an “I”?)
You wouldn’t have been able to hear Jesus over the distracting construction noise. And he would have been distracted. He wouldn’t be able to keep rolling out his best stuff. Eventually, he probably would have just stopped teaching. And this is the man with the words of life. How hard would it have been to have this interruption?
The whole experience with Jesus would have been thrown off … like static in a phone signal during an important message. That interference would have, well, interfered with your spiritual experience. Maybe your heart had started to that in the presence of God the Son. Maybe you found yourself a little more willing to love God and your neighbor. Maybe you started to wonder if God’s kingdom could be near. These roof-destroying dudes weren’t just messing with your education; this is your life!
And it’s into a new life that Jesus will invite you. Watch what he will do. Watch how he responds to the interruption and the interference. Watch the patience and perceptiveness and peace. Watch the kindness of the mercy of God. We’re invited by God today to witness the friendliness of Jesus.
Ask God today to whisper to you the invitation to witness, to give you eyes to see how he’s at work in the midst of the interruptions and interference your encounter today. See what he’ll do.