FAITHFUL FRIENDS

Reach Out to a Friend

Reach Out to a Friend

The crowd crammed into the room until no space was left. Every door and window was stuffed to the full like packed sardine cans. People. There were plenty of them. Those who couldn’t squeeze inside the house clustered around it like barnacle colonies. No one dared to leave his or her spot. Nor did anyone dare to take another’s.

It was Jesus they came to see. Yes, the same Jesus who astonished crowds at the wedding, in the temple and out on the streets. It was this same Jesus who many saw turn water into wine. Others watched as He made the blind see and the leper clean. He was more than a healer; He was a star – a superstar! So, they came in droves to be near Him.

Everyone was there in that jammed little dwelling: the convinced, the curious as well as the critical. Each sought a blessing of sorts: a word of affirmation, a healing touch or a small dose of hope. Yet there were four who did not come to be on the receiving end of the glory spout. They came to bless another.

Who knows how the paralytic wound up on his back? What did it matter? He was in desperate need. For this reason alone, the faithful four came alongside him, picked him up and carried him to Jesus. No, it wasn’t easy. Things got in the way – things like people.

“Perhaps we should try later,” one may have suggested. “You’re right,” another might have said. “Jesus is terribly busy.” And maybe, for a split second, all four agreed they’d never make it through such a thick throng of human flesh. Such thoughts may have plagued them for a moment, but better judgment won the day. These diehards would not allow circumstances to deter them from helping a friend in need. The paralytic was counting on them. Turning back wasn’t an option.

Persistence led them to the roof. There they encountered more obstacles – tiles. One by one, they cleared them away. Once the opening was large enough, they lowered their friend down, down, down to the feet of Jesus. How would He respond to such a disturbance? The four friends could only hope for the best.

Jesus was preaching when the descending body interrupted Him. Because of His compassionate nature, He allowed the disturbance. He stopped everything and reached out to the poor soul. You see, paralysis was the least of this man’s troubles. His soul was crippled and his spirit was as good as dead. Jesus took care of this need first saying:

“Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (Mark 2:5b)

Once the paralytic was changed on the inside (and after a stern lesson to His critics on forgiveness) Jesus segued from the invisible to the visible – the flesh. “I say to you, arise,” he told the paralytic, “take up your bed, and go to your house.” The Gospel of Mark further tells us:

“Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:12)

The question I’d like to close with is this: What was it that initiated this miracle? What exactly was it that moved Jesus. The Gospel of Mark answers that as well. It was the determination and hope of the fantastic four.

“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (Mark 2:5)

How did these four fearless fellows put their faith into action? They came alongside one in need, picked him up then brought him to the feet of Jesus. This is to be our example. There is a whole world of hurting people who desperately need the Lord. We have been invited by Jesus Himself to lead them to Him. It won’t always be easy. There will be obstacles. Others get in the way. Things get in the way. We may have to dig our way through. But with faith, even the size of a mustard seed, mountains will move as we seek to bring others to Jesus.

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