Wednesday, October 4th
Devotional written by Pastor Connor Johnson, Middle School Pastor
FOR THE CYNICS AND DOUBTERS
To read today: Luke 5:17-26 (focus on the perspective of the Pharisees)
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
The most challenging rafting trip each summer was the men’s retreat, and the most enjoyable was the college retreat! All of the guides were other students from our college ministry who got roped into being a raft lead. Most of the “shenanigans” would happen with our friends, including water fights and pushing our friends off the raft right before a rapid. Each year at the college retreat, we would have people join who were cynical of the joy of rafting. Why would they want to spend 12 hours in the sun and work hard just to float down a river? But by the end of each trip, they would understand the joy and love we had for rafting and looked forward to their next chance to join.
As we examine the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man, we will view it from a different lens. Today, consider the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. Just like some of my friends on the college retreat, they were cynical, judgmental, and ready to find any flaw. The Pharisees’ objective was not to learn out of curiosity but to learn what they could accuse Jesus of. Yet, how does this story end? It says, “Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’” The Pharisees arrived with cynicism but left in wonder. They brought their doubts but left with praise.
Life change happens in relationship, even for the cynical and the doubters. Perhaps you have someone in your life who is cynical of faith and doubts the Jesus we worship. Because of the tension we may experience, it is tempting to avoid bringing up religion, church, or our hope in Christ. Be encouraged that the Pharisees took their cynical and doubting mindset to Jesus and left with praise. Would you bring your cynical friends and doubting family members to Jesus and pray that you too, would declare, “We have seen remarkable things today?”
Final Thought: Text or call a friend or family member who you know doesn’t believe in Jesus and invite them to church. Pray that God would draw their hearts to Him. Remember that He has “the power of the Lord to heal the sick” (v. 17).