(Mark 2 1-12 The Message)
What a familiar and fascinating story. In my imagination, it all started with friendship:
Certainly the paraplegic was dependent on his friends for his care. At least one of his caregivers had heard about this Jesus, the healer. So he spoke of Jesus to the other friends and to the paraplegic himself. How excited they all became at the possibility of healing. Could it really happen? That day when word got around that Jesus was back home, they wasted no time! These friends believed wholeheartedly that healing would happen if only their friend could be touched by Jesus.
That journey of being carried by four loving and determined friends, to the right house, was quite the trip. And once there they quickly realized what a challenge it was going to be to get their friend inside, to receive this desired healing. There was no normal passageway into the house where scripture says Jesus was teaching the Word. People were packed inside and crowded around the outside just trying to hear. (It seems like Jesus could’ve said something to clear a path, but perhaps he wanted this live example of devotion to unfold.) One of the friends came up with the ingenious idea that a section of the roof should be removed and their paraplegic friend lowered directly down in FRONT of Jesus. So that’s exactly what they did!
I can’t quite imagine being so vulnerable and completely at the mercy of others to have my needs met. That was this man’s situation. We don’t know any of his story, except that he was truly blessed with friends who loved him; who went to great lengths to help him. Jesus did not disappoint. He immediately forgave the man’s sins because he saw the faith of his friends. And that faith led to the healing of the man’s body, too, which transpired because Jesus was providing a visible way for “the doubters” to see that he was, in fact, the Son of Man. It is clear that none of this would have happened if the friends had not acted. If it weren’t for these beautiful faith-filled friends, there would have been no story recorded.
How can I be that kind of friend? Will my faith be an instrument, helping someone else meet gentle Jesus, the healer? Can those whom I love, who don’t understand how much God loves them, be forgiven and healed because of MY faith and encouragement? I wonder. I hope. Jesus tells us to be in community with others, to love and help each other. Our spiritual walk isn’t meant to be a solitary journey because we all absolutely do need each other.
May we each be open to the generous gift of one another. Bless each friendship that brings your hope and healing into our souls.
In your holy name…
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We should all be blessed with a few such dedicated friends!
Love this. We are each capable of being saints and saviors to our fellow humans.