“Please, don’t drop me,” I pleaded as my friends began to lower me through the hole. The crowd was shouting beneath me, but I had no control over the situation. I was helpless.
“Please, don’t do this!” I shouted, terrified. What was waiting below for me? Humiliation. Dashed hope. An irate homeowner, shaking a fist at me for putting a hole in his roof.
I looked at my friends as they strained to lower me. Their faces glowed with excitement, hope, and determination-- emotions I had buried long ago.
As mud and straw began littering my face, I closed my eyes, unable to wipe the debris away. I was also unable to wipe away the tears that began streaming, unchecked, through the dirt on my face. As I sank lower and lower, hope was rising in me despite my struggle to hold it back. Maybe this time, it said.
“Why should this time be any different?” I whispered to myself.
But I knew why it was different. For ten years, my home had been a bed at my parents’ house in Capernaum. Confined to my bed, day after day, I grew accustomed to the sights and sounds around me. For the past few days, however, I had noticed a change. Feet walking by the house faster. People shouting and laughing. An air of expectancy. “Jesus is home!” they said.
I’d heard of Jesus. I’d heard it all. The stories. The miracles.
Sometimes my friends would carry me outside on my mat. I would look up at the sun or stars-- all made by a powerful God who wouldn’t heal me. I’d been prayed over by many rabbis, and each failure just made me feel more despondent and bitter.
Why would this Jesus be any different?
My mat touch the floor. The room was filled with silence. I heard someone walk over to me, and soon gentle hands were cleaning the mud and straw from my face. I blinked and found myself gazing into eyes of unfathomable love and strength. Hope flowed free.
Jesus smiled at my four friends as they peered through the hole in the roof. Then he looked at me.
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
I breathed in deeply. An immense weight had been lifted from me-- a weight composed of bitterness and anger and resentment towards God. I was free! Forgiven! I turned to the crowd, filled with gratitude and wonder, and was surprised to see the puzzled looks and scowls from the people. Didn’t they realize what Jesus had done?
Jesus scanned the crowd.
“Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”
Jesus knelt down and took my hand in his. I couldn’t feel his touch, but I could feel his love and compassion. Quietly, he said, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
Immediately, I could feel the strength and warmth of his hand. As he pulled me to my feet, I knew he had healed me. My friends jumped through the hole in the roof, shouting praises to God and hugging me. In a daze, I picked up my mat and walked, WALKED, through the crowd.
Later that evening, I went to see Jesus. He had just finished his evening meal. I stood in the doorway, trembling .
“You told me to go home,” I stammered. I held up the mat I had brought.
“This has been my home for ten years. You freed me from my sin, and you freed me from my home. This is not my home anymore.”
I stopped. What I would say to him now, I wanted more than I had ever wanted anything. Jesus had saved me, and I knew where I belonged. I just wanted to be with him and serve him.
I lifted my head, and looked into those deep, eternal eyes.
“You told me to go home, so here I am. Home is with you.”
Jesus stood up, walked over to me, and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Come,” he said as he led me in and slowly shut the door.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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