Grace and Truth
Faithful Father, You are the giver of all my years, the ruler of all my times. My times are in Your hands.
Read LUKE 5:17-26
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God made us… out of his peace to live in peace, out of his light to dwell in light, out of his love to be above all things loved and loving” (Frederick Buechner).
The Pharisees are out in force to observe Jesus at work, along with other religious leaders from every village across the region (17). Why such large numbers? Maybe it was because they saw the coming kingdom of God as their exclusive concern and, so, were checking out this upstart young preacher with his outrageous claims. Their name means “separated ones,” and there were about six thousand of them spread across Palestine. They were teachers in the synagogues, religious examples in the eyes of the people, and self-appointed guardians of the Law. If only people would fully observe the Torah, they believed, God would liberate his people from pagan oppression. As it was their job to promote this, they were hardly likely to be a sympathetic audience for Jesus.
Jesus contrasts their skeptical, judgmental attitudes with the faith of the men who were so desperate to get help for their paralyzed friend that they broke through the roof. With all eyes on him, Jesus speaks the “blasphemy” of forgiveness of sins. He repeats the word “forgive,” stressing it as the central issue. To everyone’s amazement, a miraculous healing takes place.
It’s easy to criticize the Pharisees, but most Pharisees were trying to do the right thing (although in the wrong way). They saw themselves as protectors of the truth, zealous for God’s righteousness; yet, their slavish pursuit of the Law left little room for grace or generosity. Today, in our relativistic society, it is easy to be so concerned with defending the truth, and holding the moral ground, that we forget to be gracious people. May we, like Jesus, be “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Maintaining a balance between grace and truth is hard. On which side do you err? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you may need to change.
Generous, merciful God, You have shown mercy towards me and call me to be merciful towards others. Help me do it.
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