20 Feb The Heart of the Issue
I have always enjoyed the story of the four who brought their friend to Jesus. When they found Him, the way was barred by a non-obliging crowd, so they inventively went up onto the flat roof, dug a hole and lowered their friend to Jesus. Can’t you see the debris falling on Jesus’ head and those around Him? Some of the crowd must have cheered and laughed while the owner of the house must have screamed for them to stop. It had to have been mayhem. Surely Jesus must have pleasantly enjoyed their creativity.
What followed next was remarkable. Jesus could have healed the man and that would have been the end of it. It would have been one of hundreds of miracles. (The close of the Gospel of John says we could fill the world with books of stories about what Jesus did.) Instead Jesus said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” The religiously astute in the crowd gasped. This was blasphemy. They were sure only God could forgive sins. Jesus later taught us that we can forgive sins. As a matter of fact He urges us to do so.
However, I want to focus on Jesus going to the heart of the issue. He did not merely fix the man’s symptoms. He went to the core of the man’s problems. To merely fix his limbs would be like giving money to a lazy man. The core problem of humanity is our need to have our sins forgiven and to start us on a road to do better. We need to strike at the nucleus of our problem. We need a heart replacement. It is grand to seek to make men noble but without curing the disease we are only postponing inevitable failure.