Dwight Fletcher | Be transformed! Don’t let obstacles stand in the way
Transformation seems to be the zeitgeist word of this era. Everyone is using it - leaders in industry, the education sector, media and communication, governments - it is the word on everyone's lips. And, it carries with, it an anticipation of something greater,of expansion and efficiency.
Jesus is one of the chief agents of transformation that the world has ever seen and experienced; and today we will look at three areas of transformation that He brought by examining Luke 5: 17-26 NIV.
The passage reads, "One day while Jesus was teaching, ... And the Lord's healing power was strongly with Jesus. Some men came carrying a paralysed man on a sleeping mat... tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn't reach him ... So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat ... right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Young man, your sins are forgiven."
But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, "Who does he think he is? That's blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!" Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them,"Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or 'Stand up and walk'? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralysed man and said, "Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!"... Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, "We have seen amazing things today!"
What Jesus was doing in this passage was transforming their understanding of God. Like the paralysed man, many of us have had experiences in life that left us feeling paralysed in our emotions (because of past hurts, abuse, people talking about us, shame), in our relationships, in our lives (purposeless), in our aspirations and so much more, you can fill in the blanks.
But, from the passage we can assume that either these four friends of the paralytic man or someone they knew had been in contact with Jesus. When you consider the passion with which these men brought their friend to Jesus they must have experienced His touch. What this means therefore is that,Christians, and those who know Christ are His agents and mediators -sometimes even when your friends have not believed,your responsibility is to represent Christ.
These four men displayed a 'faith that hurdled obstacles,' and faith does the things these men did. Faith does the unexpected, it gets God's attention. This faith they demonstrated was not just intellectual trust and a mere attitude. These men had faith in the one true source of joy, of happiness, of true riches - the living God. They demonstrated that faith in Jesus transforms lives. We see this in the three major areas that the paralytic was changed.
The paralytic was:
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven," Luke 5:20 NIV. Notice that Jesus did not focus on the physical ailment of the man but heals him spiritually. Our greatest need is spiritual healing. Healing him physically would have only been temporary - for this life only. Jesus is looking to eternity, to the paralytic's eternal needs and with all the love of God secures the man's eternal salvation through forgiveness of his sins.
The proclamation of his sins being forgiven would have spoken to an emotional need that the paralytic had.Understanding that God could forgive his sins even when everybody else was telling him how much God was not interested in him, must have given him a peace in his soul. God is not only interested in us spiritually but also emotionally. That peace in our hearts is worth all the money in the world.
Jesus was in their midst; the power of God was available to all to heal. Some accessed it through simple believing faith; others closed their minds and missed it completely. Luke is purposeful, in his writing he is indicating that the common man came to Jesus humble, received and went away happy.
The power of God was present to heal - 'Why did the Pharisees miss it?' Maybe it was their culture - religious understanding -their own expectations of what Jesus should be like prevented them from seeing Him for what He was.
But, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is able to heal us in spirit (most important), but also in our souls and bodies. The things that paralyse us, He is able to handle, but we have to let Him. What are your obstacles? Don't let obstacles stand in the way of your transformation. Like the friends of the paralytic maybe you need to dig in and make a hole in your obstacle to get to God!
God loves us more than we can comprehend - Jesus, God's reflection as he walked the earth transformed the lives of the people to whom He ministered. HE is still doing that today.
God's love extends to us to minister to us body, soul and spirit. Today is the day for your transformation, don't let obstacles prevent you from coming to Him.