By Drew Zuverink
"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." At this some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven, or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So he said to the paralyzed man, "Get up, take your mat and go home." Then the man got up and went home."
Have you ever envied the twelve disciples? My guess is you have because how could you not? They witnessed some truly incredible things while following Jesus around. They saw Jesus walk on water, and Peter even tried it too! They saw five thousand people fed with just a couple fish and some bread. They saw demons cast out, water turned into wine, blind people receiving sight, lepers cured, and they even saw a couple of dead people raised back to life. Have you witnessed those kinds of miracles? Ya, me neither.
Following Jesus must have been an adventure of a lifetime and it's hard not to envy the people who had the privilege of witnessing all that he did. And you know what? I don't think it's the worst thing in the world to envy them a little bit. Certainly we want to be content in the time and place that God has placed us, but could it really be that bad to wish that we lived with Jesus too? I'd love to accompany Jesus on a trip to heal a hospital full of cancer patients, wouldn't you? Or how cool would it be to visit Chicago... by walking across Lake Michigan?!
Certainly those things would have been amazing, but out of all the miracles that the disciples witness over the years, seeing broken people forgiven and restored would have been the best part. To see someone who feels unlovable receive the love of God, or to witness someone who society has deemed worthless receive a new identity as God's beloved child, or to watch a broken and addicted sinner freed from their bondage, what miracle could compare to that?
So it's true that in our lifetime we might not see things like resurrections or sicknesses miraculously cured. We might, but we might not. Either way, as his followers we are still able to see the best parts of what Jesus does. He heals hearts and brings healing into our most inward being. He reunites lost children with their heavenly father. He changes identities, destinies, and eternities. He heals the broken, and we not only get to watch him do this, but we get to help him.
That is what kept the twelve disciples around and that is what keeps us around too. Following Jesus certainly was, and still is, an adventure of a lifetime.