To a people writhing under the anguish of aban¬donment and captivity, Isaiah gives us a vision of God’s greatness, power, and mercy. In contrast to a scene of desolation, here we see God’s all-encompassing love. It is a time of exile. Jerusalem and Samaria have been destroyed, the temple profaned – it is a time of utter hopelessness. Yet Isaiah has the audacity to proclaim God’s word – which promises a time of glorious restoration. It is the Holy Spirit who has given Isaiah this courage, through his personal encounter with God, to enable him to encourage the Israelites in their darkest hour. Isaiah saw a vision of the future, where the glory and majesty of God will be experienced: a God who comes to save; a time when the blind will see, the dumb will speak, and the lame will walk; in short, the advent of the Messiah.
In the Gospel proclamation we see our Lord Jesus manifesting the role foretold about him. When our Lord saw the faith of the paralyzed man’s friends, He was moved to minister to the sick man. Our: Lord sees beyond the man’s label of “paralytic”, to the burden of guilt the man carried for his sin. At that time, people believed that sin and sickness were closely aligned, and the paralyzed man may have been frightened to approach the Lord Jesus. So our Lord addresses the more important healing, and forgives him. The Pharisees are scandalized. To them, Jesus’ words are blasphemous. Hide-bound in their so-called righteousness and false concept of holiness, they are blind to the unconditional love and mercy of God. Our Lord’s radical approach to sinners shocks them. They question our Lord’s right to forgive, not recognizing that He was fulfilling His messianic role. So they chose to oppose him. Paralyzed by their pre-conceived ideas of holiness and Messianic behavior, the Pharisees could not move towards the loving arms of a forgiving God. Today, more than physical paralysis, we see around us people overcome by spiritual paralysis. Many are dispirited and discouraged, seeking solace and crying out for a savior. Others are confused. Let us lead them to the Saviour.
Prayer: Abba Father, may I be freed from my chains of fear and guilt and proclaim your love to all around me. Amen