"Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk …" San Juan 5: 8
We are in celebration of a Jewish holiday. Jesus meets an invalid man who was thirty-eight years sick. "I already had a lot of time to be like this" (v.6). Jesus takes the initiative and asks: Do you want to be healthy?
His response was: "I do not have anyone to put me in the pond while the water is shaking and when I try to do it another one gets in before" (v7). This man shows the lack of accompaniment and solidarity of others: He indicates his limitation and the issue is not the Faith. The only thing he needed was human compassion, communion and solidarity.
Jesus heals this man on a very special day. He chose the Sabbath day to give him healing. Violate the law allowing the invalid to carry his stretcher. It is a confrontational act. Jesus decides to focus on Justice, Mercy and Humility. The authorities are focused on the law, norms, structure and power.
It is important to keep in mind that the divine criterion to observe the quality of the leaders or rulers is summarized in the treatment of the needy: widows, orphans and foreigners. Kings, rulers, leaders or religious were called pastors according to Ezekiel chapter 34 where it indicates the type of attitude expected of them towards the people.
The Gospel records that "immediately the man was healed, so he took his stretcher and started walking" (v.9). Before the healing of that man could be expected an attitude of joy on the part of the authorities. Everything happened contario. They told him: "Today is Saturday, you are not allowed to carry your stretcher" (v10). Thirty-eight years without using his legs but they observed that on the Sabbath he used his legs to work. We met a man who had no right according to the authorities.
The key in the leadership was to exercise the right to authority. The important thing was not the restoration of the person but to observe that he did not keep the established norms. The marginalized man was invisible until he violated the law. His authorities showed no interest in the needs of the herd. His focus was his laws. They forgot the rights that corresponded to the invalid. They had lost the purpose and purpose of the law to get inside themselves. They needed to hear the crying of the people in need.
Today, as a Church, the same thing can happen to us. We can place ourselves in a dangerous position if we put ourselves inside, in the internal order, neglecting those who must be reached with the whole gospel wherever they are.
Perhaps for some it is more important to maintain the norms, forms, programs, structures, than to look for those who have been 38, 50, 70 or more years without being reached with truth, justice, peace, mercy and love. How many more years should these people continue to wait? We are called to share the whole gospel to the whole world. Word and Work Work and Word Be, do and say.
The solidarity, communion, gsity and service of the whole church are needed in the "universal dimension" of the mission: "Our parish is the world". If we lose sight and purpose, we run the risk of perishing, misleading or going mad (Proverbs 29:18).
Go crazy to see only the details. This was how the ruling class of that time saw it in the time of Jesus. Enter the game of criticizing one another, blaming, judging, condemning ourselves by envy, zeal, competence and control. Follow a false sense of success seeking results and self-pride that manifests itself in the love of power instead of the power of love.
The interest of those leaders was not to seek the will of God and his Glory, but his own (v 44). This is key to understanding their way of acting. The river of them handled some glory and some human prestige. The high priest and the members of the Sanhedrin were people of power. They had to confront the voice of God to make a change. It is a voice that calls us to repentance. The invitation of God leads us to walk the world, for every nation and for every corner of our city. It is in confianza of the marginalized, the poor and all kinds of people.
It is very interesting to note that this paralytic was within walking distance of the temple.
How many people are there in the church and near it who can not walk? Why are many still in that condition? What kind of model are we sharing and embodying? The word of God is the source of life. We should not use pressure and control mechanisms. People need to be liberated and healed.
The mission begins in our same house but does not end there. The effort is not only restringido, national or continental, it is not only general. It is a Glocal effort (Global and Local) transcending borders of all kinds, from church to non-church, in word and deed in confianza of the extension of the Kingdom of God. Why are there people who have not received the gospel? What about those who have never heard? Why have you not seen the good works of the children of God to glorify the Father? There are people of every language, people and nation who still do not have anyone to put them in the pond.
It is generally said that the worldwide mission is supported everywhere from everywhere. But in practice there is still a big gap between what is said and what is done. More concrete actions are needed by all for the church to be what it should be.
The religious, social and political authority of that time was not happy with Jesus. When the voice of God confronts us sometimes we prefer to silence it. We want to worship the voice of God but not always obey it. To limit it to the religious or intimate field is to continue without touching the structures of power and prestige.
The authorities instead of listening to the voice of God decided to eliminate it. What they did with Jesus was to persecute him and they redoubled their efforts to kill him (verses 16-17).
Following the model of Jesus is very risky. Following his example can bring us problems, but the opposite way would be to betray Jesus. If we want to follow and serve the living God, there is no other way than to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ.
In our countries there is talk of democracy, of the importance in the distribution of wealth, the right and service to the poor, freedom, welfare, justice. It is a good speech but a question arises: How is our reality? Is the right of some defended and the right of others violated? What happens to those who have limited or little access to health, housing, education and work? (Proverbs 31: 8-9)
The gospel presents the good news of Jesus Christ, in word and deed, addressed to every person in any place in the world. What is the fate of those who are deprived of their right to receive the gospel? How are we reacting? What works show our Faith?
Both the high priests, the scribes and the Pharisees struggled to hear the voice of God but heard nothing of the present. Faced with the needs and possibilities of the present, the deaf were made.
The central question could be: Are we following the example of Jesus? Unfortunately, many times we do not do it. Jesus with an act discovered the hypocrisy of the authorities of that moment. He assumed the pastorate of a sheep neglected or lost by the official pastors for thirty-eight years.
What things can we change for the benefit of others?
Address: Tinogasta 5684
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Argentina, Telephone: 54-11-4642-1036,
Spanish Blog: http://misionglocal.blogspot.com/,
English Blog: http://glocalmission.blogspot.com/Author: Carlos Scott
Carlos is a member of the executive committee and general leadership council of the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Resides in Buenos Aires.. (tagsToTranslate) articles (t) missions (t) theology