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I love it when I come across a passage in the Bible that I have heard or read numerous times but suddenly something jumps out at me that I hadn’t noticed before.
That’s exactly what happened the other week when I was reading through Mark. I am going through the book very, very slowly, after about a month of starting the book I am only on chapter 3, but it was last week while going through chapter 2 that something jumped out at me.
The story at the beginning of Mark 2 is of Jesus healing the paralytic man. In this case Jesus doesn’t just happen to pass the guy and then heal him, this guy actually has to go to some work to get healed.
Actually, he has some friends that go through some work for him to get healed.
While Jesus was busy speaking to people in a packed house these four guys couldn’t get passed the crowds to see Jesus, so do they go home feeling defeated or decide to try again the next day?
Not a chance.
Do you know what they do? They actually carry their friend, on his mat, up to the roof of this home and start removing tiles and then they lower their friend down so he arrives at Jesus’ feet.
Can we say grad entrance?
It’s really a crazy moment and this event never ceases to amaze me but it’s not that part that jumped out at me this time, it’s what came next.
If you’ve read the story you know that Jesus heals the guy (sorry if that’s a spoiler for you) but it’s the reason why that is really cool. I’ll back it up a bit and share verses 3-5:
And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Did you catch that? Let me repeat it and add some emphasis:
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus forgave this man and as a result healed him not only because of his faith but Jesus healed him as a result of the faith of his friends.
Not only were these friends dedicated; when they hit obstacles when getting their friend to Jesus they found a way around them (or technically, in this case, through them) but it was a result of their faith that their paralyzed friend was healed.
This was not a mission of duty, they were not trying to check a box or make themselves feel good about putting an effort in. They weren’t trying to impress people by being friends with someone who needed their help and they weren’t doing it out of a favor for their mom’s friend’s second cousin twice removed.
These were real, true, dedicated friends.
They didn’t laugh at their friend when he told them that Jesus would heal him. They didn’t drag him there silently muttering that it wasn’t going to work. No, they didn’t doubt that Jesus would heal their friend, they knew he would be healed.
These were friends with faith.
I can’t believe I missed the bigger part these guys played in helping their friend get healed. They weren’t just the delivery men or the brawn, they were so much more.
It was because of their faith their friend was healed.
This story has me thinking a lot about friendship. I’ve admitted before that I’m not exactly great at friendship, unfortunately on top of that I’m also a bit of a skeptic – had I been one of the people carrying this guy to Jesus, He probably would have called me out as one with little faith and I have my doubts whether or not the friend would have been healed.
This story has been a hard reminder on friendship and faith.
It’s left me with some questions . . .
How would things change if I took my friendship queues from these four guys?
What if I was as dedicated to my friendships as they were?
What if I was a friend without expecting anything in return?
How would God use me if I had more faith?
Are there passages in the Bible that you have read over and over and then finally something jumps out at you? If so, would like to hear about them!