Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 5:19-20 – But finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you." (ESV)
Recently, we have had a period of eased lockdown at our church. These were socially distanced events with simple acts of worship from the front, without congregational singing, and a family-based talk. Nonetheless, it was a consolation to return to the church building where I know that God's presence abides.
During one such family talk devoted to today's passage, we were given a small, flat-packed cardboard box to reconstruct into its intended three-dimensional shape: a cube with a two-inch edge.
Into the lid on the top of the box, we were instructed to make a hole, a present-day representation of these men burrowing a hole in the roof above Jesus over 2000 years ago. Into the box, we placed the little play-dough man that we had made prior to assembling the cardboard box.
This simple enactment gave me an overview, a focus, and a perspective that I had not thought of before. Here was Jesus confined in a box!
On the one hand, along with all the dust and dirt, it must have been a pleasing moment for Jesus to see hopeful men looking on imploringly with such faith as they lowered their loved one down to be healed.
In contrast, I can imagine Jesus' exasperation with the naysayers in the crowd just in front of Him. They thought that He was speaking blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins. I admire Jesus' self-control. I would not have been so gracious, even if I were to be so provocative, as is my nature. For me, Jesus was saying, "Don't you get it? Join up the dots!" They had put Jesus into a box.
I fear that all too often today, we have put Jesus into a box of our own making. We make Him into a Jesus who can do only what we expect of Him through teaching, habit, or culture. We constantly attempt to control Him by who or what we think He is. He is greater, and we do well to remember that.
I believe that Jesus still says, "Don't you get it? Join up the dots. Let Me out of the box. Nothing is impossible. Your sins are forgiven. Rise up and walk!"
We can go home praising God for the love that He has for us, a love that is not boxed in, confined by our understanding or expectations. We just have to ask.
Prayer: Lord, we marvel at Your great love for us, Your chosen people, a royal priesthood. Thank You that nothing can separate us from Your love — not even our limited comprehension of Who You are. Please forgive us our sins today, and may we go on our way into the day rejoicing with You at our side, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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So true, Rod. Have a great day.
Rod, thank you very much for this Word and its special illustration of the “box.”
Good morning Rod: Thanks for your message today. I really liked the illustration.
Thank you, Rod, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Blessings and prayers.
Thank you for the message. We can certainly short-change ourselves when we keep Jesus in a box! We serve an amazing God, and nothing is impossible for Him.
Thank you for another of your special devotionals. Yes, we must always be so thankful to have Jesus right there walking along with us through whatever we encounter each day. His love truly endures forever. Blessings for your writings.
How comforting it is to be back in some sort of communal worship, isn’t it? Our church has been meeting regularly since about February…masks, etc. Now we are meeting pretty much in an unrestricted way. Occasionally in our small town, mostly at the grocery store, one can observe people in masks, but not very much.
Thank you for your devotional. The concept of the small box example was brilliant.
That was an interesting exercise your church did to understand this piece of scripture. It brings to life an enactment so that you can visualize it better. I definitely get your expression that we “box in” God and forget how immense His powers are and His vision is for His world. It is good to see a new perspective opened up for us by the words and visions of others. God is the God of miracles, and we should remember this and praise and believe. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us and may you continue to do so. Blessings and many miracles.
Good morning Rod,
Thank you for today’s devotional. Well put.
I do want to ask you about your statement though…”it was a consolation to return to the church building where I know that God’s presence abides.” Do you really believe that God needs a building to reside in? He is everywhere, and the building is just a building. No? His presence is there when His people are there. If there is some Biblical reason you believe He resides in the building I would appreciate knowing where, I would like to understand.
The Lord used today’s devotional to speak into my situation and to confirm His truth in my medical condition. All glory to our faithful God!
I had a medical appointment to review my CT Scan and bone scan tests in order to firm up treatment options for me. My wife and I have been praying for God’s divine intervention. I had been very concerned and was fearful and expecting the worst outcome. At the appointment this morning, the Dr. said the results of both tests were fine and there was no longer need to go forward with the treatment plan. I will however be scheduled for routine checkup every 6 months!
Ecstatic, in my prayer of adoration, praise and thanksgiving, the PresbyCan today pointed me to who had done it in the following lines: “I believe that Jesus is still says, “don’t you get it? Join up the dots. Let me out of the box. Nothing is impossible. Your sins are forgiven. Rise up and walk!”
“We can go home praising God for the love that He has for us, a love that is not boxed in, confined by our understanding or expectations. We just have to ask.”
I immediately had the feeling that God was speaking to me through the devotional. I know!
Thank you, Lord, for working in and through Rod and PresbyCan to speak life to me today. You answer prayers!