One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
Luke 5: 17-19 (NIV)
A few days ago, I read this familiar passage. Only this time, it fell with a newness. I think Jesus shared this story with us, not so much to state His power & authority to heal, but to give us insight as to the power & gift of friendship.
We all need those that will stand by us through thick & thin. We need the support & encouragement of others so as to remain strong & steady. We need others to laugh with & share the good times. We need to comfort & be comforted. We need one another.
I want friends like those of this paralytic man. More so, I want to be found to be a friend like this to others. There are three important characteristics that stand out to me from this story:
- These friends carried their friend when he was unable (v. 18). There are times in life when each of us will be unable to go on. We may be weak, worn, defeated or sick. It is then that we need someone not only to come alongside of us but to carry us.
- These friends did whatever was necessary for their friend (v. 19). When faced with the obstacle of being unable to get through the crowd, rather than giving up & going home, they made a way for their friend. They never gave up. They kept pressing on until they were able to lower their friend through the roof & bring him right in front of Jesus.
- These friends believed for their friend. There may be times in life when we do not even have the ability to believe for our miracle. May we have friends, & be that kind of friend, who will believe & pray for our friend.
Being that kind of friend brought the recognition of Jesus Himself:
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (verse 20).
Everyone involved that day walked away having gained from this encounter with Christ. Yes, the paralytic received his healing. When Christ told him “to get up, take his mat & go home” (verse 24), he immediately was able to do just so. But his friends that brought him also received the recognition of Jesus & the forgiveness of their sins (verse 20).
Everyone experienced the amazing that day. They were each filled with awe. Friendship caused them each to experience the remarkable that day (verse 26).
May each of us have friends like this in our lives.
More so, may we each be that friend to others.