Monday, December 05, 2011

Here is Your God

December 5, 2011

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. Isaiah 35:4-6

And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." Luke 5:18-20


God, come to us this day in all the people we meet. Teach us how to bring them an awareness to recognize your presence. Show us the way to build your holy highway through our world so that people will have an easier journey to find you. Then, help us set out on that journey to lead the way to the miracle of your presence in the world today. Amen.


For all beauty of the poetry of Isaiah (with which we assume the Pharisees are familiar), these same Pharisees certainly had a difficult time when they see the poetry of Isaiah come alive before their very eyes. The miracle of the healing was not the problem – but the miracle of redemption was.

Isaiah rejoices that the Lord will come with vindication to save the people. The Pharisees do not seem to have any problem reading the historical text from the “past.” The doubters do not seem to have any problem considering that the Lord will come in some other time in the “future.” However, when the power of the Lord is in their midst in the present moment, they cannot get over the personal obstacles presented by their power, knowledge and action.

Luke (or our translator) carefully divides the Teacher Jesus from the Healer Lord. Yet, when both aspects of Jesus’ divine-human nature are before the Pharisees, the temple leaders cannot comprehend that God and man can appear before them in the singular person of Jesus. They see the man teaching. They see the paralyzed man walking away. Yet they cannot bring these two realities together with the healing power of the Lord and the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus has no such trouble. For Jesus, it is just as easy to say “Rise and walk” as it is to say “Your sins are forgiven.”


As the days of Advent move forward on our journey to Christmas, this season makes it relatively easy to see how we can be an extension of the mission of Jesus. Yet, we also might have the kind of obstacles in our path that the Pharisees experienced. Can we set aside the power of our position to identify with those less fortunate than we are? Can we overcome our education to see beyond the scientific and recognize the miraculous? Can we see beyond our own weariness and be propelled to action?