This story is inspired by Mark 2:1–12.
Jesus “returned to Capernaum…[and] it was reported that he was at home.” As I reflected on the Gospel passage, I found myself drawn to the character of Jesus’ landlord. I could hear her:
I’ve rented out rooms before. It’s chancy, despite references. The carpenter from Nazareth seemed safe, because he’s a distant relation. Our bedrooms surround a large front room that I share with my tenants. I keep it neat and clean, taking pride in my property.
Coming back from an errand, I can’t even approach my own front door. Are you kidding? I’m getting tired of the riffraff Jesus attracts. These are not the kind of people I want sharing my home.Despite much pushing and shoving, I can’t reach my back door either. I have work to do! Sighing heavily, I ask myself: Now what? I work hard, scrimp and save, and my reward is this house.I give up trying to get in and shove my way out of the sweaty crowd. Down the block a friend welcomes me in. “I’ve got to evict that guy,” I say.
After a pot of tea, I head home, no less angry. And what I see makes my blood boil. My ladder is leaning against my now-deserted home’s exterior, and there’s a gaping hole in my roof.
At my front door, a few people remain in animated conversation.
“What happened here?” I ask hotly.
“You never would believe it!” one of them says. “Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed after saying his sins were forgiven!”
“I mean about my roof! Look at that hole! Who’s going to fix that?”
The group looks at me with eyebrows raised, mouths gaping open. The woman tries again. “Four friends of Joshua—you’d know him; he’s been paralyzed since falling off his roof—carried him here but couldn’t get in through the door. It was so crowded.”
“I’m very aware of that!” I say indignantly.
“But, wait. I’m telling you that many people were healed here today, including Joshua,” the woman says, pleadingly. “I’m sure they will come back to fix your roof; it’s just in the excitement of Joshua walking—walking out!—his friends were hugging and crying and laughing, and they ran off to see his family.”
Her friends are moving away now, calling her to come along. I shake my head, she leaves, and I go inside. My living space is strewn with bits of thatch from the roof. No one is here. As I’m about to reach for a broom, I hear a tap at my door. It’s a messenger from Jesus, who “asked me to come back and talk about…”
I interrupt. “You tell that carpenter that I can see why they kicked him out of Nazareth. Pack his belongings now. I don’t want to hear what you have to say. He’s no longer welcome here.”
“But Jesus will make everything right,” the messenger explains. “He always does…”
- What “thatch” has paralyzed me—what life circumstances—making it impossible for me to see the miracles in my life today?
- Where am I missing the obvious miracle right in front of me?