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Needs surround us. Needs invade us. They can overwhelm us, or they can motivate us to take action. Those with eyes to see perceive not only their own needs, but also those of other needy people around them.
A very needy crippled man is brought to Jesus. Incapable of moving around by himself, he is carried on his mat by friends to a house where Jesus can be found. Creative friends they are, for unable to get to Jesus because of the crowd, they walk up the stairs outside, bring him up on the flat roof, remove some tiles from the roof, and lower him down before Jesus. A surprising sight indeed for the people gathered inside.
Jesus could see the physical need, just like everyone else inside the house, including Pharisees and experts in the Law of Moses. But the Lord perceives a deeper need: “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” Behind the sober physical condition of this crippled man, an even more sober condition is brought to light. He taught with authority and healed people (see Luke 4:36-40), but, more than that, Jesus came to answer a different need, a deeper need, our deepest need.
As Son of Man, Jesus has full authority from the Father to know the hearts and minds, to reach our consciences, and to address our deepest need. As Son of Man, Jesus has “the right to forgive sins here on earth” (Luke 5:24). As Son of Man, Jesus also came “not to be a slave master, but a slave who [gave] his life for the rescue of many people” (Mark 10:45). Through him and his death on the cross, we can receive forgiveness for “all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).
All-knowing Father, Give me eyes to see beyond physical needs and to perceive myself and others as you see and love us. Help me to see my deepest need and to find the answer in your dear Son. Through Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice on my behalf. Amen.