Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jesus the Trouble Maker

Jesus, the trouble-maker ...

From Mark 2.1-12.

There's quite a crowd gathered to see and hear Jesus - a typical crowd, pressing and shoving, thick and mindless - so that even the paralytic and his friends were unable to push through to Jesus.

The friends were remarkable - unwilling to let anything stand in their way, and so, through the roof they dig, until they can lower their friend into the very middle of the room where Jesus is.

Now here's where the matter becomes interesting ... scribes are there, the guys who know their stuff - the scriptures, the Book of Order, tradition and practice - every jot and tittle well cared for - "it goes this way, not that way; it's up and not down."

Jesus says to the paralytic: "Your sins are forgiven!"

My suspicion: Jesus knew well what was going to rankle the scribes. Would they have been distressed by a healing? Not likely. But to talk about sins and forgiveness - that's a no-no,  because such things require something more elaborate - like temples and lambs and blood and alters and flames and smoke.

This little moment in Mark reveals Jesus pitting himself early on against the religious establishment, and those who consider themselves it's gatekeepers.

He might have whispered words of forgiveness to the man, and no one would have known the difference, and he might have healed the man without taking about sin and forgiveness.

But Jesus knows what's at stake here ... the gatekeepers standing by elaborate gates with carefully guarded keys, heavy and ornate. If there's any paralysis anywhere, this is it - religion unable to move, religion stuck, religion frozen in time, ever-ready to defend itself.

Jesus said just a few words, but Jesus knew well that those few words would arouse immediate suspicion - the watchers of the gate are ever-vigilante for violations, and very quickly, Jesus violated their sensibilities.

While I rejoice in how Jesus tweaked their noses, I wonder: would Jesus tweak my nose! Where are my gates that I guard zealously? what are the keys I hold? where I am stuck and paralyzed? What might Jesus say to me, and I find myself grumbling and uneasy?

1 comment:

Bob Dahl said...

Glad you're back at it and always with significant prophetic insight and humility.

Jesus tweaking me? Seriously?