Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:3-5 NIV
This year for Lent, I decided to read the book of Mark slowly and deliberately. I am trying to read the book with new eyes. Today, when I read Mark 2, I immediately knew the story of the four friends that carried their paralyzed friend on a mat to be healed by Jesus. However, today I was struck by this statement, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
I have always struggled to understand how Jesus’ miraculous healings apply to our day to day lives. When I think about faith, I understand how my faith can impact my own life. I know that I need faith in God to have a relationship with Christ. I know that I need to have faith to follow Jesus. I also understand that I need to have faith when I pray. However, this passage says nothing about the paralyzed man’s faith. For all that we know, he may have had no faith. Instead, Jesus was so moved by the faith of this man’s friends, that Jesus not only healed the man, but he also forgave his sins.
These four men did not simply tell Jesus that they “believed” that he could heal their friend. They showed how much they believed through their persistence and action. No one knows how far the men traveled carrying their paralyzed friend. When they arrived and saw the large crowds, they could have simply given up. However, they fought their way onto the roof, carrying their friend between them. Then, when they were on the roof, “they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it.” How much time and effort did it take for them to toil away, digging away a roof? How many people would have given up and called it a day?
When they finally had a hole large enough to fit their friend through, they lowered his mat through the hole until the man was lying in front of Jesus.
I would love to live my life with faith that is so strong that God would look at others and forgive them, heal them, and make them whole. Because our faith journey is so personal, it is easy to become so focused on our “individual” spiritual journey that we forget about our community. In this story, Jesus is clear that our faith not only has the power to change the course of our own lives, but our faith also has the power to change the lives of others.
Do you live your life with faith, persistence, and action that can change the lives of others? We don’t even know the names of the four friends in this story, yet they changed their friend’s life by loving him so fiercely that they put their faith into action. They did not allow obstacles to stand in their way. Because they believed and acted on their faith, their friend was healed.
Jesus, Thank You for placing friends in our lives to love us and intercede on our behalf. Help us to have powerful faith and to act on our faith to love and help others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.