When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5, NLT)
It is such a familiar story. I remember it well from the years spent in Sunday School. The flannelgraph pictures always illustrated the man being lowered in a basket by ropes. My attention may have been fixated on the basket and wondering if it would tip.
But now years later, being older and with no illustrations, my attention lands on something entirely different –
It is the faith of the friends which causes Jesus to heal the man.
The four friends went to incredible lengths and effort to bring their friend to Jesus. They longed for their friend to be healed and whole. And I learned three truths about faith:
- Faith will keep dreams alive.
- Faith makes a way, even when it seems there is no way.
- Faith perseveres.
These four friends knew what they had come to do and were determined to do it. Not for themselves, but for the sake and life of their friend. I wonder what the paralyzed was thinking as they brought him up onto the roof. Even more so, I wonder if he stayed quiet while they began to lower him or did he tell them they were all nuts?
No matter the thoughts or reaction of the paralyzed man, I came back to this … “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man …” (verse 5).
It is the faith Jesus saw in the four friends which moved Jesus to see and speak to the paralyzed man. Their friend was no longer lost in the crowd. He was seen by Jesus. And Jesus was moved to respond.
And therein, lies the point:
There are times we are called to carry our friends in prayer.
We can carry others boldly before the throne of our Father. We can persevere and intercede for those we love and know. He is moved with compassion and will respond. Jesus tells us it only takes the few:
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20, NLT)