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." (Mark 2:3-5)
Read Mark 2:1-12
It must have taken a lot of faith. Imagine being a paralyzed man confined to bed when your friends show up and tell you Jesus is in town. They want to ask Him to heal you. And since you can't walk, they're going to take you to Him in your bed, just as you are. It's a good thing there are four of them to carry you!
But it gets more exciting. There's such a crowd you can't even get into the house where Jesus is. You think you'll have to give up. Then someone says the dreaded words: "We could go up on the flat roof and make a hole..."
Up the outside stairs they take you -- you hold your breath and hope they don't drop you. Then they take off tiles and dig through the clay of the roof. Shouts come from below. People realize something's going on, and then your friends pull out the layer of branches below the clay. Dirt falls into the hole and sifts down on Jesus and the people closest to Him. Then your friends let your bed frame down through the hole, inch by inch, till you're hanging right in front of Jesus.
Surprisingly, Jesus ignores the roof hole, the crowd, and even your paralysis. He begins by saying, "Your sins are forgiven." Forget the wrecked roof, the wrecked body -- what matters right now is the wrecked soul. He says the gracious words that only He could say, because He is the One who will make them true by laying down His own life on the cross: "You are forgiven." Every bad thing you've said or thought or wanted -- all of that is wiped out. Only then does Jesus heal your body.
Shortly afterward, there is nothing left of this amazing miracle but the roof hole. No paralysis -- that's healed. No patient -- you've gone home at Jesus' command, taking your bed with you. No sin -- Jesus has taken that away with Him. The only thing left is the open sky seen through the roof -- because to Jesus, you matter more than any roof.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for how much You love me. Remind me of this when I am discouraged or afraid. Amen.
If you had been the homeowner, how would you have reacted to this event? How does Jesus' reaction differ, and why?
The friends had faith that Jesus would heal the sick man. Where do you see the sick man's own faith?
Is there someone in your own life to whom you could act as a friend and bring him or her to Jesus? If so, pray and think about how you might start.
Author Dr. Kari Vo serves as theological writer for Lutheran Hour Ministries. She holds a doctorate in English (Renaissance period) from St. Louis University and has worked in writing and publishing for 30 years. She has published several books and written dozens of articles. Originally from California, she and her family are missionaries to the Vietnamese immigrants in the St. Louis area.
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