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The good news for the day December 5, 2016

Monday of the Second Week in Advent (179)

One time Jesus was teaching a lesson. Religious leaders and professors of the law had gathered from every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. (While they sat there, a Noble Power was there to do healing for them.) Some men brought a crippled man on a stretcher. They tried to bring him inside, to set him in front of Jesus. Not finding any way to get him in because of the crowd, they went up to the tiled roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the open middle of the house—in front of Jesus. Jesus saw their faith and said, “You! your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5)

This incident, remember, is not just some snippet or outtake of a movie for you to watch over and over. What plays out here is for your benefit.

A high-class audience of smart, respected and learned Jewish men is present. Better ancient homes had an interior area open to the sky where Jesus would have been sitting, men and women shoulder-to-shoulder in walkways around this garden center. These friends come in over the top—people can see them coming. They lower their friend. Jesus uses the teaching moment. The cure of body limbs is less important than his crippled heart and soul–which this man was probably exhibiting—a curmudgeon griping about his condition, grumbling about the jerks on the roof—and embarrassed now in front of all these people—and Jesus.

But Jesus—as you yourself might—sees past this fuss into the man’s heart—his legitimate gripes, his ordinary response to his bad deal. “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus says. Not “I forgive your sins.” But the faith, love and trust behind his crusty facade, his lifetime of suffering, his helpers on the roof—the very fact that loyal friends brought him—add up to faith, a good man whose current state has triggered him into a passing grumpiness. “You can start right now,” Jesus says, “on the right path, you can be in the realm of what’s right. Your sins are behind you. Now is the time of salvation.” No, Jesus does not say that to him—He says it to you. Now

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