This verse is striking… I can almost see it… the whole population of the Apostle Peter's hometown gathered in front of his house because Jesus was inside. Infants in their mother’s arms, little children on their daddy’s shoulders, old men standing on gnarled feet, women grayed and stooped with age, young children and teens uncharacteristically quiet, watching Peter's front door--waiting. No make-up, unfilled gaps where teeth once were, vicious red scars and open sores... the worn faces of the ancient Jewish working class.
Standing in front of the crowd are the village elders… waiting to welcome Jesus and hoping He will help them as He has other cities. Some nervously fearful of how they mistreated or ignored this fisherman who today is hosting Jesus behind that door.
On the fringes separated from the crowd (a separation maintained by the presence of hired thugs whose hardened eyes seem to soften with each lingering glance at the door) are the despised, disqualified, and diseased. Publicans (considered political traitors) and tax collectors are kept on the outside of the group partially because they know the corruption that finances the lives of some of the well-dressed waiting families. Harlots (prostitutes) who are also kept at a distance because of who they know and what they do. Then farthest away I see the lepers, the blind, and all sorts of beggars. Sprinkled among these distant castaways are the children without a known father… rejected and dirty, but unusually calm as their eyes move from the people to the door and back again.
All these people... so different from each other in their own eyes, but standing there together for the same reasons... possessing the same hopes and needs. Praying the same prayers. Hoping that what they've heard is true: Messiah has come… that He’s in that house… behind that door… that He is full of mercy and love. Maybe He will forgive me. Maybe he will heal my mother… my brother… my friend… Maybe He will take away my pain.
This is what happened when Jesus came to town. A city divided by class, birth, profession, prejudice, disease, and deceit was now in the same place waiting for the same person: a Savior--a personal Savior-- a man who, empowered by His divine nature, can heal my “unique” personal pain. One who can lift the burden of my guilt and its consequences.
They were all equal when it comes to need… they all needed something from God that they did not have. In this we are all the same: no matter our possessions, strength, or beauty we cannot overcome our enemies: age, disease, cruelty, and death.
If this same Jesus came in the same way today I think your city would find itself together… standing… staring at the door… waiting. But Jesus is here. He is alive. And we all still need Him. Faith is the door, go there and wait for Him. He will come..