Including Jesus

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
- Mark 2:1-2
People were excited to hear Jesus. Do we expect that to happen?
In our good-hearted desire to experience a healthy religious pluralism, we can be tempted to put Jesus on the sidelines. We think we’re doing our friends and neighbors a favor if we try to present a Christianity without Christ. We offer moral codes and religious wisdom. But we miss the point of it all.
There is no Christianity without Christ. At the center of Jesus’ moral teaching and spiritual insight stands his own narrative about his identity. He claimed to be the one who could forgive sins. He claimed a unique relationship with God. He claimed a divine origin and destiny. And everything he had to say linked to his claims about his identity.
His religious opponents would have found no problem with his teaching if it weren’t for his claims about his own identity. The Roman government wouldn’t have considered him much of a threat. And we wouldn’t know his name today.
One of the most significant things we can do for our friends and neighbors is to introduce them to Jesus. Invite them to listen to Jesus’ own words, to read the Gospel narratives, to encounter Christ for themselves.
This week, as we explore Jesus’ interaction with the friends of the paralytic and the crowd that had gathered to hear him teach, we’ll have an opportunity to listen to Jesus for ourselves.
Would you be willing this week to take a few minutes to read Mark 2:1-12 (our passage for this week)? As you read, open your heart to Jesus and invite him to guide your attention. Take some time to reflect on whatever in the text captures your attention. What would Jesus invite you to do in response to what you read?

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