As I read this passage, I am struck by the tenacity of a man desperate for healing. I am humbled by the selflessness of his friends, who dug through a dirt roof on the off chance that the rumored miracle worker might heal their friend’s body.
And the Pharisees: always present, questioning, doubting, accusing. So focused on judging Jesus’ every word that they missed the culmination of their beloved Scripture in the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus healed the man’s body, fulfilling the hope he and his friends had when they set out that morning. But the healing didn’t end there. Jesus healed the man’s soul, fulfilling the age-old hope of the nation of Israel.
For generations, the people of Israel recounted the story of the Exodus and God’s deliverance from their slavery to Pharaoh. The hope of Israel was that the coming Messiah would bring about a New Exodus, whereby the people of Israel would be freed, for the last time, from bondage and oppression.
The man’s friends didn’t know it, but God used their actions to explain why He sent Jesus to live and die among us. Jesus came to fulfill the age-old hope of Israel. By forgiving the man’s sins, Jesus gave him a New Exodus. And being freed, for the last time, from the bondage and oppression of sin, the man wasted no time pursuing the vocation God has intended for each of us from the beginning: worshiping Him by bearing His image throughout His creation.
This Advent season, let us be tenacious in seeking healing for our broken parts, selfless in our devotion to our friends, and open-minded to the ways of God that we may not understand. Let us be faithful image bearers, sharing the healing and hope God has brought to the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank You that we can come to You for the healing of both body and soul. Having been healed, we ask You to fill us with boldness to proclaim You as our Healer and glorify Your name. May we reach those in need of healing with Your love and mercy.
by Cathi Linch, friend of HOPE