Interrupters

“On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.” (Luke 5:17)

Jesus was having “one of those days.”

There he was trying to accomplish a goal, get his work done, and fulfill the tasks at hand, and all the while he had to deal with complainers, interrogators, and interrupters. “As he was teaching”, the large group gathered from all over the region were apparently waiting for him to say something they didn’t agree with so they could hijack his lesson. At the first opportunity they swarmed Christ like vultures, picking at his words, tearing his character to shreds.

Before their eyes, Jesus had confronted a paralytic who had just appeared in the room by surprise. In this familiar narrative we know that the jam-packed house where Jesus stood had been incapable of receiving one more occupant. Because four friends had an enormous amount of faith in Christ’s ability to heal, they went to absolute lengths to ensure the paralytic was placed squarely in front of Jesus. Christ acknowledged the man as a sinner, and extended his all-encompassing forgiveness toward him

Unfortunately, the Pharisees and teachers of the law were not moved by the faith of the four friends, or by the authority Jesus displayed in forgiving the sins of the crippled man on the cot. Instead they became agitated and indignant. Lacking the courage to say it out loud, they thought to themselves “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:21) “Jesus who exactly do you think you are and what exactly are you daring to do?”

Jesus was having “one of those days” were his motives were questioned, where his authority was being undermined, where a group of intellectuals thought they had the right to dispense accusations, but he took it all in stride. With pointed words which revealed that he read their miserable thoughts, Christ simply acted with decorum and grace.

“Jesus who exactly do you think you are and what exactly are you daring to do?”

Jesus acknowledged that the four interrupters who had stormed his classroom were a welcome intrusion, and he applauded them for the way their faith propelled them to extreme action on behalf of their broken friend. In turn, he admonished the incensed complainers, put them in their place, and went on to do exactly what he had planned all along. Christ raised the sick man from his bed, and lowered the boom on the religious experts whose eyebrows were raised in disdain.

The Scriptures tell us “And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen extraordinary things today’” (Luke 5:26). When Jesus was asked to handle interruptions and disapproval, he did what he was born to do – he brought glory to the Father. When we have upside-down situations and unexpected confrontations, may we remember that our Lord understands our pressures, and look to him for grace for every “one of those days.”

Prayer

My Lord, you always provide a way for us to get to you. You are never too preoccupied to hear from us, to heal us. You are a loving, gracious God and so very worthy of worship. Thank you for letting us know that you understand exactly how we feel when we are having “one of those days” as well.

Elizabeth Karram Mitchell

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