I wrote this quickly tonight. Forgive any typos. I believe this is for someone right now.
Mark 2:1 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 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, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 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. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man[a] has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
This is one of the most fascinating portions of Scripture to me. Here we have a man who is paralyzed, a complete quadriplegic. He cannot do a thing for himself. Jesus is in the area, in someone’s house. This means that hope and healing is in that house. However, this man is a paralytic so he can’t do anything about his situation. He is quite hopeless.
We are not told why he is a paralytic, whether it was from birth or a freak accident. We know nothing. Some times in the Scriptures we see that sickness can be a result of sin. This could almost be attributed to this story in that the first thing Jesus says to this man is that his sins are forgiven. Other than the fact that this man is a paralytic, this story is about much more than just this man. This is a story about the courage and tenacity of 4 friends. Without friends (plural), I believe there may be times in our lives where we have no way out of a crisis.
These 4 men were determined to get this paralytic not only to a church service, but to get him directly in contact with Jesus. They were ready for their reputation to be damaged, doing whatever was necessary, even tearing a hole in someone’s roof (costing them money) to lower this man down right in front of Jesus.
1. If we in the church today will allow Jesus to come in and do what He does best; bring healing, hope, restoration, forgiveness, etc., it will be absolutely impossible to handle the volume of visitors. People are hungry…but do we have what they are looking for? The single best piece of marketing we can have for our church or ministry is this; “Jesus is in the house.” Today we seem to be known for many things; the best band or choir, the most creative series, the most exciting ministries, the most relevant and fun-filled atmosphere. However, marriages are still collapsing, children are still falling astray, the sick are not being healed, and so much more. What we need more than anything is to be willing to strip everything away if that is what it takes…to get Jesus in our house.
2. We as individuals need more than mere acquaintances, we need some ‘roll up your sleeves and get dirty if need be’ kind of friends. A few years ago my family went through our most difficult journey, and sadly we learned that we did not have as many friends as we thought we did. My entire family was paralyzed and seemingly unable to process anything. However, while some friends disappeared, others rushed in and practically picked our family up and carried us onto the rooftop, wreaking havoc as they tore through anything and everything in the way to get us to the feet of Jesus. When a paramedic rolls up on an accident, they don’t hop out of their ambulance and begin critiquing the injured and bleeding, only to then jump back in their vehicle and drive off, leaving the wounded do they? No. They begin to resuscitate, bind, bandage, stop the bleeding, administer medicine, load that person(s) up and haul them in, all the while telling them that they are going to make it and be OK. If you are curious as to which kind of friends you have in your life right now, I have a piece of advice. Rather than assessing whether or not they would be there with you in a crisis, determine now to be with them when they hit theirs. This is also why it's so important to be involved with a Life Group (what we call them at our church). You never know when you will need someone to carry you. To be personally honest with you, I never thought I would have needed carrying, until I realized for myself that I was paralyzed.
3. Sometimes God will do things on your behalf not because of you, but because of the faith of those around you. And sometimes God will do things on behalf of your friends not because of their faith, but because of yours. We need each other. “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” Who today could have their life turned around simply because you are in it?
4. It is just as easy for Jesus to forgive you of your sins as it is for Him to heal you body. When our family went through our crisis several years ago, I wrote this in my journal: “As I read through this passage all I can think about is how I have never saw this scripture the way I do now. I have no problem seeing Jesus as able to heal this man and raise him up. Yet I struggle hearing ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The one man heard, ‘Rise, take up your bed and go home.’ I long to hear in my heart, ‘Rise up from your shame, your sins are forgiven.’ Someone out there needs to hear this today.
5. There will come a time in your situation where your friends job is done, and you alone will have to take a step of faith. You have an obligation to do something. Why? Because someone else picked you up and carried you. Someone else risked their reputation as they invested time, energy and resources into your life. To continue sitting in your paralysis and misery is an insult to their sacrifice and also to Jesus, Who laid down His very own life so that you could get back up. In our situation, our friends did everything they could do, but then our family had to stand up together. Today, Becky and I have a marriage we never dreamed was possible. We are overwhelmed with what God has done in our kids. We have so much hope for our future after experiencing what God can do with a hopeless situation. It's not over for you!
I want to speak directly to anyone reading this who is in a paralytic condition right now. Emotionally, psychologically, physically, relationally, it does not matter. Jesus wants to make his ‘home’ in your life, in your heart. Do you know what this means? This means Jesus wants to come into your ‘house’. Hope, healing, forgiveness, everything you need, is within Him, and He wants to live inside of you. If you are on the verge of collapse and can’t get up on the rooftop to get to Jesus, then invite Him to make His home within you. Let me help you by praying for you right now:
“Father, I believe there is someone reading this right now, someone who feels paralyzed. They don’t feel they can go on, they feel trapped. Their mind is full of so many thoughts and emotions. They feel hopeless. Open their eyes so they can see the truth, the truth that hope and healing is available to them right now. There is healing for their relationships, healing for their mind, healing for their emotions, forgiveness for their past and present, provision for their present and future. Even though they feel alone, help them to see that they are not, because You said in Your Word that You would never leave us or forsake us. Let joy, peace, love, mercy and hope envelop and wash over them right now. In Jesus name I pray.”
Now…rise up man/woman of God. Some paralytic needs you right now.