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Advent Devotional: Second Sunday of Advent

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Risen with Healing in His Wings

Compassion: Our Holy Obligation

December 6, 2020

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. —Luke 5:24-25

A large and impressive crowd had gathered to hear Jesus teach, including religious leaders from as far away as Jerusalem. It was so crowded in the house that it was impossible to get inside.

A small group of men outside were desperate. Their friend was paralyzed, and they longed to get him in front of the only man capable of healing his infirmity. Then one man had an inspiration: why not climb the outside staircase common to the architecture of the day and lower their friend through a hole in the roof?

We can only imagine the commotion below as debris started to fall and daylight appeared around the sweaty, determined faces of the men who would stop at nothing to bring their friend to Jesus.

Their story is a powerful example of Christian compassion. These men loved their brother and did everything in their power to get him the help he desperately needed. Caring for the needs of others’ suffering bodies—a natural consequence of a sin-sick world—is a holy obligation. So is caring for their souls.

This story is also a powerful example of Christian faith. It was by faith that the paralyzed man was healed, for when Jesus “saw their faith, he said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you’” (Luke 5:20). We may infer that the paralyzed man had as much faith as his friends—faith in Jesus and his power to forgive.

As we prepare to celebrate the Christ Child’s humble birth, let us come to Jesus in faith, trusting him for healing and forgiveness. He will touch our sin-sick souls and cleanse our unholy hearts. He will also touch the people we love well enough to bring closer to him. Our hands are the hands God uses to reach out to people no one will touch. Our arms are the arms he uses to carry people to Christ.

Reflective Question

How does your confidence in Jesus’ kingship compare to the faith exhibited by the paralyzed man and his friends?

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