It was crowded. I didn’t think anyone else could’ve squeezed in.
The air tasted dusty. The room smelled sour, sweaty. I almost yelled, “Baths for everyone!”
But because of my hurt I controlled myself and after a few minutes I no longer gagged. My nose adapted to the human stink.
We were all here, of course, for the same purpose: to see what he would do.
I couldn’t rise from the dirt floor. The pharisee standing above me, to my left, seemed tense. I wondered, is he angry? In pain? What’s his problem?
“Your sins are forgiven,” I heard him say.
Murmurs, raised eyebrows, pinched faces, swept through the crowd. And shuffling feet stirred up more dust. The dust stung my eyes. They watered. I rubbed them. I probably made mud streaks. Nobody laughed. Every eye concentrated on him. His presence mesmerized us.
I thanked God for friends. I spotted the three of them above me, peeking at me from the opening in the roof.
I turned my head slightly and I looked into his eyes … they smiled.
The pharisee at my left spoke to him, “Do you think you’re God? Only God can forgive sins.”
Someone whispered, “He’s right.”
The smiling eyes fixed on the questioner, “Yes …” he said gently.
There was silence.
A fly buzzed. I located it. The fly hopped from face to face, from brow to nose tip, from arm to ear. People swatted at the pesky insect. It flitted away. And returned.
“I’ll tell you what,” he continued, “so you’ll know that I have the right to say what I’ve said, I say, “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk home.”
I felt different. I did what he commanded. I sat up on my mat. I stood up. I heard gasps. Someone shouted, “Praise the Lord!”
A path opened and I passed through the crowd. As I moved away, I turned and looked at him. He chuckled and then laughed for joy.
I wrote this because I wanted to find out if I could put myself inside the drama of this miracle. (Luke 5:17-26).
I wanted to view the scene with fresh eyes, like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon for the first time and looking down into the Abyss. I wanted to experience that dizziness. I wanted my breath to be taken away.
It worked for me.
I gained a new perspective by standing in that crowded tiny room, pressed together with expectant humanity–people like me.
- I felt the tension.
- I felt the contempt.
- I felt the anticipation.
- I felt the hope.
I supposed most of the people there were trying to figure out if Jesus was truly someone special. Certainly, they’d heard the stories about Jesus. You know, like we have.
I have no doubt that for most of those present this was a holy moment. This was a moment not to be missed. This was a moment that changed lives forever. It was a good moment.
Obviously, a few were squeezed into this small home to cause trouble. This “few” had no intention of accepting Jesus as the one sent by God.
What were they afraid of? That their jobs would be taken away? That there water-less lives would be exposed? That their influence would be gone? Whatever their thinking, these troublemakers missed the joy-filled–life-changing moment, when a group of guys had a crazy idea to lower their friend into a hot, dusty, smelly room.
After being there in my mind, I, too, laughed for joy.
How about you?
Thanks for being here at Lee’s Nite Radio.