Have you ever known someone who was going through such a difficult time that you wondered how the Lord could work in that situation? Have you listened as companions pour out their disappointments, their brokenness, or their despair? What is the concerned to do with these overwhelming challenges? Thankfully, we can look to God’s Word for an answer to these situations. Three of the four Gospels contain the story of the paralytic carried by four men and lowered through the roof to see Jesus. See Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:1-2, and Luke 5:17-26 for the complete texts.
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.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:19-20
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2
Word had spread about Jesus and His power to perform miracles. The home where Jesus was preaching the Gospel was filled with so many people that the door was blocked. Houses of these times were usually small, one-room structures each with a flat roof. To get to the roof, the men carried the paralytic by an outside stairway. The roofs back then were made of wooden planks with thatch, clay, tiles, and grass. The men had to dig up the tiles, thatch and earth to make the hole. This action in all likelihood preannounced their arrival as dirt fell on the group inside. Then, with ropes, the men lowered the crippled man through the hole they created so he could meet with Jesus. Jesus tells the man his sins are forgiven which was the root of his problems. He needed forgiveness. In addition, Jesus heals the man so he can walk. These miracles established Christ’s ability and authority to heal the both the spiritual and physical needs of people.
Impressed with the persistence and faith of the paralyzed man and his companions, He tells the man to “Take heart” which means have courage. He also calls the paralytic “My son.” This was a term of endearment using the possessive adjective “My.” Notice that Jesus is not angry nor does He rebuke the interruption made by the men. These dedicated men embodied the definition of “friend” as defined by dictionary.com which is “a person who gives assistance.” These guys made the extra effort to bring their friend to Jesus.
Have you had a friend that you were concerned about? How do we provide assistance? How do we bring our friends and their situations to Jesus today? When we pray on behalf of our friends, we are bringing their needs to the One who heals situations beyond human control. Our prayers are like taking off the pieces of the roof. As we fervently talk to God on behalf of our family and friends in need, we take off the roof, make a hole, and bring them to the feet of Jesus.
This story has several themes we can apply to our lives:
Faithful friends are those who bring others’ needs to Jesus by prayers and petitions.
Bringing friends to Jesus takes effort and teamwork. The four men did not quit when the door was blocked. Instead, they worked together to get the job done. We can partner with others as we make the effort to lift up friends in prayer.
Jesus sees and is pleased with every act of faith and service we do on behalf of others-Keep praying and serving! Jesus meets the needs of our loved ones in His perfect time when bring them to Him. For the paralytic, he was healed both physically and spiritually.
Faith is linked to the miracles. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save people from their sins and work in their lives. The same God who forgave and healed the paralyzed man is still saving people from their sins and working in all lives today! He does not change!
Many there were amazed at the power Jesus displayed by healing the paralyzed man and forgiving his sins. The same is true today. Some people will notice the miracles and will be drawn to our God who answers prayers and works in our lives.
May we be faithful friends! Amen.