Summary: This sermon is a lesson about the importance of life’s interruptions.
It happened only a few weeks ago. After my normal shift on the graveyard I had gone home to rest. Some time in the middle of my sleep Storm came and woke me up. In her hand she held the phone. “It’s the police,” is all she said.
A thousand questions went through my mind. “Did I do something wrong?” “Are they fund raising again?” “Has one of my loved ones been injured or worse and they’re letting me know?” As one can imagine in that situation I was instantly awake.
“Hello Mr. Shepard,” a cheery voice greeted me as I took the phone. “This is Sergeant Johnson with the Army recruiting office in Topeka.”
I politely declined the invitation to see if I could be an “Army of one.” I have no intentions of joining the Army at this stage in my life. Nor do I think it is God’s calling for me.
Despite their annoyances I want to talk about the importance of life’s interruptions. Because life is full of them.
Take a moment and turn with me to Luke 5 beginning in verse 17.
17 One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus, 19 but they couldn’t reach him. So they went up to the roof, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his mat, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
21 "Who does this man think he is?" the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to each other. "This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?"
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, "Why do you think this is blasphemy? 23 Is it easier to say, ’Your sins are forgiven’ or ’Get up and walk’? 24 I will prove that I, the Son of Man, have the authority on earth to forgive sins." Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, take your mat, and go on home, because you are healed!"
25 And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped to his feet, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe. And they praised God, saying over and over again, "We have seen amazing things today."
Normally I think of myself as a fairly organized person. I try to plan out my days weeks in advance. I got this little gray book I carry around in my back pocket. It’s got my daily to do list in it. There are things in there that have been there for months. There are other things there that are done every week or every day that I make sure to put in every time I record the upcoming week, just to make sure I don’t forget. I enjoy planning out my life. If I had time I might even plan out my memorial service, although it might not be as interesting then. I like routine.
But life is full of interruptions. Even Jesus was interrupted. But I think more importantly in this passage of scripture we can see three interruptions that take place. Each one is important in its own way.
Jesus is teaching. Now there are few things in my life that I can imagine more important than being taught by Jesus. And apparently the people of that day felt the same way because we’re told that there was a huge crowd. People had come from as far away as Jerusalem just to hear him speak. In fact it was so crowded around this house that as the friends of the paralyzed man couldn’t even push through the crowd to get him near Jesus. Instead they climbed on the roof and began removing tiles.
And here we find the first lesson about interruptions. Interruptions happen. They’re a fact of life. We are going to be interrupted. No matter how important what we are doing is there will come a time when we will be interrupted in the middle of it.
There’s something more to be learned here. Jesus didn’t get mad or angry, as we tend to do about the interruption.
I’ve got a fairly vivid imagination and in my mind I can picture Jesus teaching this crowd. People are pressing in all around him. A little dust begins to fall. It’s only a slight amount. Maybe it’s nothing at all. Another version of the Bible said they had to cut through the roof. So I imagine chucks of mud and wood falling down around Jesus. He looks up knowingly. Others in the room are getting frustrated with this strange turn of events. Not Jesus. He’s calm. He knows that interruptions occur even when we don’t want them too.