Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, 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 and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:3-5
In March of 1994, The Associated Press carried a story about some fifth-graders who attended Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California. The accompanying picture showed, for all the world to see, 14 very bald boys. The article told about Ian Ogorman who had been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Knowing it was more than probable he would lose his hair, Ian took the initiative and had his head shaved.
Of course, a single bald boy is going to draw a fair amount of attention and attention is not something most fifth-grade boys want. Realizing that, one of his classmates said, “The last thing Ian would want is to not fit in. We wanted to make him feel better.” So 13 of Ian’s classmates had their heads shaved. It was
a mark of extraordinary compassion and empathy, that which makes you feel pain when someone else hurts.
Jesus, our beloved Savior, certainly felt our lostness when He came into this world. All around, He saw the sadness of lost souls. So that they might be saved, He shouldered their transgressions and carried them to the cross. There, all who believe in Him as their Substitute, find hope and heaven.
Knowing the great tenderness of our Savior, it was not unusual for people to bring the sick to Jesus. That was what happened one day to a paralytic. His friends who had seen his suffering, brought him to the caring Christ. Because of the crowd, they couldn’t get to Jesus. Rather than going home, they went to the roof, tore a hole in the ceiling, and let their friend down in front of the Savior. Their friend was forgiven of his sins and healed in his body. Compassion had made them feel his pain.
It is my hope that I would have done the same. Of course, I wasn’t there. Nor were you. Nevertheless, every day the Lord gives opportunities for His people to carry those who are hurting to Jesus. Will we shoulder the burden? I pray, at those moments, we will remember: Christian compassion makes us feel pain when someone else hurts.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on February 23, 2003
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the compassion You offer the world. Help me to shoulder the burden of the hurting people in my life, and give me the strength to live my life for You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.