Jun 2, 2017
One of the best tips for writers and speakers is to know thy audience. In Luke 5:17 we read that one day when Jesus was teaching, teachers of the law and Pharisees from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem came to hear him. Jesus knew His audience and had a message just for them.
Jesus was so popular that He drew crowds wherever He went. Strange happenings followed. Miracles like the lame walking, the blind regaining their sight and lepers being healed were stirring up talk that this teacher might be the Messiah. The news concerned the religious hierarchy, and they came to see for themselves this famed miracle worker and hear what He had to say to their church members. They didn't know that He had a message especially prepared for them.
The verse states that the home in which Jesus was teaching was packed with people, inside and out, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there listening to Him. When the roof was opened and a paralytic was lowered on his mat through the roof by his friends, it probably caused some excitement. But not as shocking, at least to the religious experts, as Jesus’ next words. He said, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20 CEV)
The religious professionals were offended, but too politically savvy to say so out loud. "Who does this guy think he is?" they thought. "Only God has the power to forgive sins!"
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and presented to them the message He wanted them to hear. “Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? But now you will see that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” Jesus then said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk home.” (Luke 5:23-24)
Jesus is able to speak to us at the point of our need in a way packaged just for us. He is a personal God who is able to speak our language, speak through our culture and communicate with us despite our idiosyncrasies. He loves us and takes the time to speak to us in the way we know with the message we need to hear.
But do we listen in prideful arrogance? Does the message offend us? It takes courage to accept the truth about ourselves, and it takes humility to be taught. Some of the religious experts let His words sink into their traditions and melt their resistance to His message. Others hardened their stance. The choice was theirs. Today it is ours. Let God speak into your life this moment. It will be a message of love, forgiveness and freedom, and just like the paralytic, you will rise up with a strength you didn’t have before.
If you would like an opportunity to help others meet God in their language and through their culture, consider donating to Wiconi Living Waters Family Camp. It is a ministry that we support where Native families have the chance to hear the Gospel together in a way that ministers to them.
Image by Jad Limcaco courtesy of StockSnapi.o
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