Today’s scripture: MARK 2:1-12
1When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7“Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralytic – 11“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”12And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
This morning scripture is a classic case of different images or views of Jesus….different expectations even. What keeps coming to mind for me is when we are faced with different images and different expectations. For the hometown, Jesus was coming home and they expected a Jesus they knew. There wasn’t even enough room for him. For people who had heard about Jesus, he was someone who could offer a good word. For the crew who brought the paralyzed man, Jesus was the last desperate attempt for healing and worth every effort. For the scribes questioning, he was ridiculous and out of line. For Jesus, he was a conduit for God. For others who saw, he became the Son of God that day. And the list goes on….
Do any of these images match for you?
In your mind’s eye, what is Jesus doing? What are your expectations of him? Is he healing? laughing? teaching? rebelling? turning over the tables? preaching? Does Jesus represent something hurtful to you? or is he pretty great in your mind? The point is that perhaps we are putting the story in too many boxes and perhaps we should get ready to lay all of the expectations aside because over and over again in the Gospel, he breaks those expectations.
When I woke up this morning on March 1st I already had to lay my expectations of the day aside. I expected more green than I saw when I realized I was seeing white out there. This may or may not change the way my day goes. While I still have plans for the day, perhaps my expectations will be either blown away, met or not met, or totally fulfilled but either way I miss the chance to be surprised or even swayed if I am a stickler about those expectations. In this particular story, what would have happened if Jesus had held to the expectations of the day. Healing and love would have been missed.
What if we laid aside our expectations to make room for healing and love? Or what if we expected God to show up anyway? Besides our images of what God could be? How would that change today?
Prayer: Creator God, want want to make room for you in our busy day. Help us to do so. Show up when we least expect it and show us how different you can be. Amen.