Jesus had cleansed a leper and had, then, “withdraw[n] to desolate places and pray” (5:16). He began to preach and, suddenly, there was placed before him by his friends a paralytic. Rather than ignore this interruption, Jesus healed the man and declared his sins to be forgiven. Very busy with the most important matter of teaching, Jesus considered the need of the man before him, paused, and ministered to him. Jesus never seemed too busy or too self-absorbed to consider the needs of others. And so it was as Jesus encountered the man with the withered hand, ministered to the crowds, healed the centurion’s servant, raised the widow’s son, and forgave the sinful woman. Jesus came to serve, and serve he did (Matthew 20:28)!
Every one of us, at times, will respond to the need of others with selfishness, being more concerned about being bothered or about our own interests. But that was not the way Jesus lived his life (Nor, per yesterday’s sermon, was it the way Paul lived his life.). Thus, Paul could instruct the Philippian believers, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).
Your hands, O Lord, in days of old
Were strong to heal and save;
They triumphed o'er disease and death,
O'er darkness and the grave.
To you they went, the blind, the deaf,
The palsied, and the lame,
The leper set apart and shunned,
The sick and those in shame. -- E. H. Plumptre (1866)