You Can Have My House.

Several days later Jesus returned to Capernaum, and the news of his arrival spread quickly through the town. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there wasn’t room for one more person, not even outside the door. And he preached the word to them. — Mark 2:1 – 2

You get the feeling they came to the house where Jesus was staying not for physical healing as much as to know him. Who is this man who stood outside this very door and healed the sick? Why is he boarding at Peter’s house? If he can do such powerful things what will he do next? Does he have a message for us? For me?

One of the things we like best about the old house where we live is the room to accommodate guests. We put in our bid as the location to celebrate holidays. Grandparents’ houses usually get first dibs, but we’ve had the pleasure of opening our space to family and friends. I love the joy of serving people where I live with my wife, and watching her do what she does best.

It’s hard to say how Peter felt about having his privacy invaded by swarms of people in his home. At first in his living room, listening with rapt attention to Jesus speak. Then, more space was needed. More rooms filling. Can I stand in your bedroom and listen? There’s no more room in there. Is this restroom taken? We can fit five people in here. There’s room for one more in the laundry room.

It’s different when you invite the visitors. You can make preparations. Mop floors. Dust. Clean from top to bottom. Make refreshments or dinner. Dress appropriately. Create enough room for those coming. Enhance the enjoyment with warm hospitality. This takes pressure off you as the host. You spend less time worrying about appearances and more time enjoying the people who have come.

But when you haven’t made plans for a visit and a crowd shows up at the door you have to throw things together.

The amenities in this case were likely not as important as the man they came to see. So that must have taken some pressure off Peter. They were coming to the place where Jesus was. He’s in there, let’s go. Peter had probably never had this many bodies stuffed in his house. I didn’t know we could fit this many people.

Peter was a good sport. We don’t read about him at all in this part of the story. That means he stepped out of the way and treated his home as though it belonged to Jesus. We could have read more about his serving people. Telling them not to step there. Him standing at the door welcoming people in. None of that is seen. Just Jesus, the house, and the people coming into the house.

It’s hard to create appearances on the spur of the moment in your own home. Usually you’ll find a person being most themselves in their home. We laugh about our surprise that anyone would want to come over because of the unbridled chaos that surrounds three toddlers. Diaper smell everywhere. Toys strewn on floors. Children darting through rooms naked. Juice spilled on tables. Laundry piled sky high. But people still come to check on us every once in a while.

Those who came in the house to visit Jesus found him not made up. He wasn’t polished and shiny clean. He was probably lounging. He had not prepared a speech or a lesson. They found him being himself. They saw him at his most personal.

Think of the joy of having Jesus live with you. Could Peter even sleep at night, or did he lie in bed with his wife all night whispering about Jesus? He must have felt his home was the most blessed, the safest, the most holy in the city. Jesus made it feel this way. It wasn’t this way before he knew Jesus. It was just a place to live.

I wonder if my house can feel this way though Jesus doesn’t physically live here. He’s not sitting on the sofa in my living room watching cartoons with my children. I wish he were. He’s not snoozing in the guest room. He’s not sitting at the dining room table with me now having coffee. But that would be amazing.

I guess all I can do is tell him my house is his. Treat everyone who comes in as though they were Jesus. Let his spirit in to warm the place and make it holy.

Jesus, welcome home.

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