This passage is a remarkable demonstration of Jesus’ authority and power, his ability to read people’s hard hearts, and his rapidly increasing popularity. But today, let’s look at the paralyzed man’s friends. It’s helpful to remember that people in that time believed that many, if not all, illnesses were caused by sin. So Jesus healed both, and the physical healing confirmed the spiritual healing.
The paralyzed man’s friends, using great strength and creativity, got their man to Jesus by climbing on the roof, removing a large tile, and carefully lowering him down on some kind of stretcher through the hole. That’s some good friends. I don’t know if I’d be willing to do that. Unless I was sure that the healer inside would fix her. Apparently, these guys were sure.
I wonder how much they knew about Jesus. They might have seen Him perform miracles before, or maybe they had just heard the stories. What they had for sure was faith, and Jesus saw it. (verse 5)
I’ve been sick. Sin-sick and body-sick. You can’t always see the sin-sickness, unless you get to know me. Then you see it for sure. You’ve been sick, too. Both ways. God heals our bodies through medical professionals these days, but the sin part – that still requires an encounter with Jesus.
We all have sin-sick friends. People who are drowning and trying to get to shore. (I didn’t call for help – thought I could handle it myself.) What are we willing to do to get them to Jesus? If you want to save a drowning person who is far from shore, you have to get into the water with them. That’s scary - you could be sucked under, too.
We want to teach them about God’s forgiveness and about the community of church. But we’re not always willing to make the effort. For me recently, it has meant getting up super-early and driving a long way, buying lunch when I can’t afford it, and listening for hours to problems I don’t understand. But I know the only real solution for them. Jesus sent me (and you) out into the world to tell the Good News. He promised to be with us and gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us. And compelled by His love, we have to jump in.
Prayer: Oh God, I remember that I was once drowning in sin and your incredible grace saved me. Help me to see my sin-sick friends through your love, and to bring them to Jesus with compassion, patience, strength, and creativity.