Belonging in community is an important theme throughout the stories of Jesus, but many of the stories make a distinction between community that is alive in the Spirit and community that is constrained by the Law. In a community of the Spirit, words, actions, passions, and desires begin to line up and result in true worshipful response to God. In community based on Law, people talk about doing things in line with their passions but then they never find the time, energy, motivation to do them. Community held down by the Law often gets in the way of the transforming power of God. To be a friend to the oppressed children trafficked in our city, we must, as a community in the Spirit, worshipfully and obediently carry these children from their context of oppression straight to the feet of Jesus regardless of how difficult or inconvenient that might be. Then they will see the invisible God at work in us, be reconciled through the power and presence of Jesus, and be healed.
“One day as [Jesus] as teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins… .” He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up , take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’
- Luke 5:17-26