"8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to human beings."
It seems that healing has been a recurring theme in my reading lately. It's interesting because I am simply following a Bible reading guide that suggests a short reading from one of the gospels each day but, even though I am not searching for texts that applicable to my current situation, I am in a season where I am continually faced with how to speak about and claim God's healing power. In the text today Jesus has just returned to his town (Capernaum) after calming the storm and healing the demon possessed man. I picture him getting ready to cozy in for the night at the home where he was staying (he had no home of his own) when a few guys brought their friend (a paralyzed man) to Jesus with the hope that he would be healed. I've probably heard 100 sermons in my lifetime on this passage (and I've even preached a few myself), and the message is usually pretty much the same. There's a little bit of historical perspective on the cultural co-relation between physical ailments and sin; IE: the common understanding in Jesus' day would have been that the paralytic man (or his parents) must have been terrible sinners for him to be stricken in such a way. Next comes a little something about how Jesus' claim of authority to forgive sins was really a declaration of his divinity followed by an invitation to allow Jesus' to claim that authority in and over our lives. This morning, while that message was certainly still there, something else jumped out at me. In verse 8, the crowd is blown away by what Jesus has just done, but what I find interesting is why they praised God. It says, "…they praised God, who had given such authority to HUMAN BEINGS." Jesus was fully God and fully HUMAN. Usually when we say that we do so with the understanding that this means that Jesus experienced pain and struggle. This is true, but "fully human" also means that Jesus lived humanity to its fullest capacity. He lived in such a way that demonstrated the fullness of our potential as one's created with God's imprint. Could it be that the people that day were compelled to praise God because in that moment they caught a glimpse of the authority each one of us can claim in our "oneness" with Jesus (See John 17). We are not God (and we never will be), but through Jesus we have become sons and daughters of the Father… heirs to the fullness of God. We can claim his power and his authority at work both IN and THROUGH our lives.
Jesus, show me how to live life to the full!