This past Sunday we looked at a passage in Mark 2:1-12 where four faith-filled men bring their paralyzed friend to a house where Jesus is teaching. The place is so crowded, inside and out, that they are forced to carry the paralyzed man up to the roof of the building and then lower him through an opening that they create in order to get the man to Jesus.
It’s hard not to be amazed at the sheer determination and faith it takes for these four individuals to get their friend into the presence of Jesus. I don’t know if they had permission from the owner of the house to dig a hole in his ceiling, but it’s a safe bet that they would have had to return at a later date to do some much needed home repairs. As they lowered their friend to where Jesus was, there are wonderful lessons for us to learn about their faith.
Their faith was an active faith. Lesser, more conventional friends would have waited for a more convenient time to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Or maybe just waited for Jesus to come to them. But these four knew that time was of the essence, and that their friend wasn’t getting any better just laying around. They realized that there was no time like the present to encounter Jesus and his healing power, and so they put their faith into action.
Their faith was in the power of Jesus. I was inspired this past Sunday as people lined up for prayer at the end of our worship service. There were requests to pray for physical ailments as well as spiritual sickness. What a blessing it is to be in a place where God is moving among us and to realize that Jesus alone is the source of hope and healing for whatever it is that holds us back in life. He is the Son of God who has come that we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Their faith was rewarded with the complete healing of their friend. Mark 2:5 tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.”And then he said to him, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Jesus responds to the faith of these ‘Fearless Four’ and heals not just their friend’s body, but also forgives him his sins.
This story reminds us that we should never take lightly our role in bringing people into the presence of Jesus. So many people we encounter find themselves paralyzed by fear, failure, and unforgiveness. They are literally frozen in place, and have no way of moving forward. Our faith might be the lifeline they need to help them get unstuck. Whether by praying for them, offering a word of encouragement, inviting them to church, or even lowering them through a hole in someone’s roof – it might be just the help they need from a faith-filled friend like you or me.
Pastor Perry Engle