It was the most exciting event this town had seen, we don’t get many celebrities around here, the news spread like wildfire, people downed tools leaving work half finished, fishermen abandoned their nets and women hurried along their hands still covered with flour, children flocked out of school, even the shepherds came down from the hillside. The place was buzzing with anticipation.
I wanted to join in, but I had to lie on the floor watching the world go by. I had no choice. Ever since the accident my legs hadn't worked, just a silly slip, broke my back and both legs. The bones healed but no way to mend a severed spinal cord. Serves me right, but it was a high price to pay, I slipped right off the roof splat!
My brother Matthew cared for me, so humiliating having to be looked after like a baby. He doesn’t know I’d been lusting after his wife when I fell. ‘Do not covert your brothers wife’, that is what the scriptures say. The worst punishment is guilt.
I knew I was going to miss the big event, the streets were deserted, and everyone had gone to the show, when suddenly I saw Matthew running back with three of his mates. Next thing I knew they had bundled me inside sailcloth, taken a corner each and were running, bouncing me along like some beached whale.
At the house, people were crowding round the door and spilling out onto the street. One of the celebrity’s minders said gruffly,
“It’s a complete sellout, no room inside for one more, let alone four scruffy guys and a bundle”.
I’m used to being called names but Matthew was angry and almost walloped the guy.
The show was about to begin, so I said “Let’s just stay out here and listen.”
But Matthew was having none of it. “No,” he said, peering down at me, all jumbled up like a load of dirty washing, “You are my brother and I am not going to let this crowd stop us.”
Next thing I knew two of his mates were on the roof dragging me up.
It was strange, the last time I’d been on a roof I had legs that worked. I felt like I was going back in time. Then I heard the speaker saying,
“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst”
“I am come that you may have life and life abundantly”
I forgot everything, as I listened to him talking about sin, repentance and forgiveness. I felt so ashamed, and then suddenly I was on the floor right at the speaker’s feet. I was looking up at his most amazing eyes. It was just him and me. He seemed to know exactly why I was there and why I was crippled.
He placed his hand on my head, the strongest warmest touch; Then he spoke just to me “Son your sins are forgiven.”
A huge weight tumbled from my shoulders and my heart was dancing. I was wrapped up in the softest lamb’s wool blanket and I just wanted to lay there forever safe and warm.
But he spoke again more loudly this time, “You are healed, pick up your stretcher and go home.”
I did as he said even though I would have given anything to lie there a bit longer. I picked up the sail and pushed my way through the crowds towards the door. I could hear the shouts of amazement but as I went home it didn’t seem strange to me that I was walking again. I knew I had been given a second chance and I was going to live differently from now on.
I have said goodbye to Matthew and his family and am going to go travelling. I reckon this celebrity is worth following and so I am applying to be one of his team. I reckon he is going to need some more help controlling the crowds as his tour is sure to be a sellout in every town and village between here and Jerusalem.
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