Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;Â it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,Â a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,Â crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left Godâ€™s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT, my emphasis)
Through the technology of the World Wide Web, I was able to see a woman who had been paralyzed for over 20 years receive prayer much like the man described in Matthew 9. No, she wasnâ€™t dropped through a roof! But those who were praying began with blessing her, reminding her even, of how much she is loved by her Father, her Creator, her Savior. She wept with joy.
These words from Isaiah reminded me that hundreds of years before Jesus fulfilled the prophetâ€™s message, the Father wanted His children to know that He knew the state of our sinfulness. He knew that we could not fix that â€“ He would have to do that. Do you hear the love in those words? Do you feel the love in those words? The lady receiving prayer did.
I would not presume to know the state of her soul. But I do know that I need to receive that love every day of my life. Tears came to my eyes as I watched her receive Godâ€™s love. The look of overwhelming joy that â€œYes! I am loved by my Father!â€ â€œI donâ€™t deserve this but He loves me!â€
Then in a few minutes, trembling, she tried to lift herself from her wheelchair. Someone took her hand but she pulled herself to her feet. After a few more minutes, she attempted to make those long-weakened legs take a step. She swayed a bit. People who havenâ€™t stood upright, like her, have equilibrium problems when they first stand.
And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men. Matthew 9:7-8 (NIV)
Matthew doesnâ€™t tell us how quickly the man stood up. Just like that crowd so long ago, I was awed and I thanked God. I wept for the woman who received the miracle of Godâ€™s love and the miracle of healing. I wept as I, too, received the Fatherâ€™s love. No one can be an untouched bystander in Godâ€™s Presence!
I hope that we take the testimony of this miracle and think about the Isaiah passage. It is often quoted during Advent. I need to think about it more often than that. The Fatherâ€™s love is a miracle.