Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20)
Read: Numbers 33:40-35:34, Luke 5:12-28, Psalm 65:1-13, Proverbs 11:23
Relate: They had faith and he was healed. “Faith transforms the whirlwind of despair into a warm and reviving breeze of hope.” These words of Martin Luther King Junior are true on so many levels. Sometimes my personal whirlwind of despair is so strong and immanent in my life that it takes the faith of another to transform it into the warm and reviving breeze of hope. Martin himself understood this. He talked often of his dream, but that dream was not truly for himself. As he made it clear, he did not think that he would arrive to see that day but he still had faith for others and that faith was what brought them through.
“Longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. He has allowed me to go up to the mountain. I’ve looked over and I have seen the promised land.I may not get there with you but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” The very next day, MLK was killed. He had the faith, and they were healed.
React: In less than two weeks, there have been three major bombings. First it was in Ankara, the capital of my adopted home. Then a suicide bomber hit a busy street not all that far from where I live here in Istanbul. Now it is Brussels. It is a desperately sick and dying world that we live in. Sometimes those closest to, and most effected by the disease of humanity’s sin cannot see a way out. For those who were injured and the families of the ones killed in these three attacks, that whirlwind of despair might be all they can see. For those refugees, Christian and Muslim who have fled the violence and terror of Bashar Assad and ISIS, or the occupying police in Southeast Turkey (more properly called Kurdistan), or for those victims of Boko Haram, the whirlwind of despair might be all they can see. They need friends who will pick them up, carry them through the roof, and bring them through prayer into the presence of Jesus.
That lame man was a faithless sinner. He didn’t deserve healing. He didn’t deserve to be forgiven and made whole. It was the faith of his friends that brought about the miracle. Who will I be a friend to? Will I lock my doors to their need or will I tear down roofs for their healing. It will be through my faith that they will be healed.
I live in a sick and desperate and dying world. The bombing and destruction that has made recent headlines over and over again is only a symptom of the much greater disease of sin. My world doesn’t deserve saving. So many in my world don’t have the faith to be saved. They have no clue who You really are. But I come before You on their behalf. God, save. God, heal. God, forgive. For my Muslim brothers and sisters, show Your mercy and kindness and love and generosity and favor. We know that it is Your kindness that leads us to repentance and I ask that You would pour it out through me, through the Church in abundant measure. Let the love I show and that the Church shows be the light that brings them to You.