Do you have friends like the paralytic man? Are you this kind of friend?
They heard the healer was in town. He’s preaching at a house only a few miles away. The foursome packs up a few supplies for the trip and secures their beloved friend on his pallet, each with a corner of his bed resting on one shoulder. I wonder if they talked among themselves on the way there, or if they were unusually silent, keeping their thoughts to themselves.
They make good time, just over an hour. When they reach the house, it is packed. People even spilling out into the entrance.
They only let disappointment set in for an instant before coming up with a plan. They climb the rickety staircase leading to the roof, careful to balance their friend. Climbing a few steps and then waiting for the crew at the back to catch up until they reach the top. They lay their friend down as they begin to piece by piece remove the roof tile. As the hole gets larger, they can’t help but stop to peek in and hear what the teacher is saying. Surely this is the one who can heal their friend. At last, the hole is big enough to fit the pallet through. They each take a wrap they brought and secure it to their designated corner of the bed. Slowly and steadily they lower the pallet. Wobbling all the way down, it lands with a loud thud in front of the teacher. It causes quite a stir. All eyes fixed on the helpless man in the messy bed.
The men rush down the back stairs and push their way through the crowd. Now the waiting. It is in the teacher’s hands. What will he do? They are certain healing is coming.
To what lengths do we go to put our friends in the presence of Jesus? Oh, to have friends, and to be a friend, as these men. Not only do they have faith, but they are also willing to do the hard work to see it produce fruit. To not just say it and think about it, but to act on it. We all need friends willing to carry us to Jesus!
“Son, your sins are forgiven,” Jesus says.
Wait, what?!?….they must be thinking. They came for healing, not forgiveness of sins.
Jesus always knows what we truly need. The heart of all of our hurt and suffering and deepest need is rooted in sin. And it isn’t that this man’s health is correlated to his sin, it is that all of us have a sin issue that only Jesus can cleanse. He went there first because any other secondary need addressed will never bring us peace and wholeness. And then Jesus healed his physical need, enabling him to walk out of the crowded room he moments before needed his friends to lower him into.
Where the world says, “you made your bed, now lie in it”. Jesus says, “Rise! Take up your bed and walk.”
Jesus says the same to us: “Your sins are forgiven….Rise!....take up your bed and walk.” He stands ready to meet all of our needs, starting with the most pressing one of our sins.
God, thank you for forgiving and healing. Let us never forget our beds, whatever they may be, that You rescued us from.
My friend, Julie Seals, posted the quote in the picture the other day and I LOVE it. I love Julie and her ministry too! Check her out HERE.
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