What if someone dismantled your roof?
Several days later Jesus came back to Capernaum. The report went out that he was home. 2 Many people had gathered. There was no room left, even in front of the door. Jesus was speaking God’s word to them.3 Four men came to him carrying a paralyzed man. 4 Since they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof over the place where Jesus was. Then they lowered the cot on which the paralyzed man was lying.5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Some experts in Moses’ Teachings were sitting there. They thought, 7 “Why does he talk this way? He’s dishonoring God. Who besides God can forgive sins?”8 At once, Jesus knew inwardly what they were thinking. He asked them, “Why do you have these thoughts?
9 Is it easier to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your cot, and walk’? 10 I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then he said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I’m telling you to get up, pick up your cot, and go home!”
12 The man got up, immediately picked up his cot, and walked away while everyone watched. Everyone was amazed and praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” – Mark 2:1-12
A friend hosted a party in his home. Many people came. Much fun, conversation, good will and refreshment was enjoyed. The next day he went into the guest bathroom only to discover that the toilet seat had been broken…and placed (hidden???) behind the toilet! Have you ever loaned something to someone only to have it returned in poor condition, or completely broken? Don’t you think that if you loan someone something that it will be returned promptly and in good order?
We’ve considered this miracle of Jesus from the standpoint of the once-paralyzed man, the friends who brought him, and the scoffers who questioned Jesus’ authority and ability to forgive and heal. What about the guy whose house Jesus used and whose roof was dismantled? What about him? Are you, maybe that guy?
You’ve let your home be a place of gathering. People have come and scratched your floors, left water rings on your tables, and consumed your precious toilet paper! Or worse, you’ve let someone borrow your car. They needed it, and you were able to get by without it for a few days. When they returned it, it was dirty and the gas tank was empty. How rude!
But that’s different than loaning your house to Jesus isn’t it? Maybe not. Remember Jesus’ words, “Inasmuch as you’ve done it to the least of these brothers of mine, you’ve done it to me.” So what needs to change? Perhaps it is your expectations. Maybe it’s the loanee’s thoughtfulness. Could be something even greater: your awareness of the kingdom impact of giving letting Jesus use something.
Mother Teresa famously said that the poor are a reminder to us of our need to give. And if we give, we should give expecting nothing in return. If our gifts are truly gifts, and if we are giving our things for Jesus’ use, the wear and tear, potential damage, or consumption of those things may have a kingdom impact far beyond the cost of the gift.
What was that impact? We’ll look at that tomorrow.