|Photo image courtesy of Deyan Georgiev via 123rf.com|
Thursday, October 16, 2014
WHATEVER IT TAKES
“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, NIV
One reason my favorite Gospel is Mark is because I get distracted easily. It’s the shortest and most fast paced of the four, and when my friend from prayer group said she was re-reading it I thought that sounded like a great idea!
Mark 2:1-5 made a big impression on me WAY back when I was in college. Jesus was in Capernaum and so many people gathered to hear him that it was a packed house. There wasn’t even any room left to stand outside the door and listen!
Mark 2:3-5 (shown above) tells us four men carried their friend, who was paralyzed, on a mat to get to Jesus. They knew Jesus could help him. But they experienced a big obstacle. The crowd was too thick to reach Him. So they dug a hole in the roof to get him there! What faith they had. And what faith the paralyzed man had to let his friends lower him through the roof—scary!
It struck me 25 years ago that these men did WHATEVER IT TOOK to get their friend to Jesus. They persevered. How different the story would have been if it read, “Since they could not get him to Jesus…..they went home.” Actually there wouldn’t have been any story then.
I’m sure both the man and his friends had physical healing in mind when they went to Jesus (which Jesus did as we read in verse 12 of Mark 2 that the man got up, took his mat and walked out!). But we see that first and foremost Jesus was concerned with the man’s spiritual healing—forgiving his sins so that the man who was paralyzed could be in right relationship with Him. And did you catch what the Bible said? It said when Jesus saw THEIR faith He then forgave the paralytic. He saw through their extra work and effort (both the friends and the paralyzed man) that they had great faith.
All this meant so much to me as I pondered many things. “Do I have faith that Jesus can meet my friends and family’s needs—especially for forgiveness and a relationship with Him-- and do I do whatever it takes to get them to Jesus? Will I go against what society says (after all back in Jesus’ day those with disabilities or sickness were viewed as having these conditions because they or someone in their family sinned) and care for the marginalized?
And oh how much more this passage means to me now that I have a child with special needs. Not that I think Jesus will always heal our bodies or minds here on earth -- but because I see in this passage how He wants the man to receive His forgiveness and be in right relationship with Him. I see how much Jesus loves him.
I’m so thankful for many ministries (like Snappin Ministries!) that follow the example of this story by doing whatever it takes to get those with special needs to Jesus. Yet I am devastated by the many churches and organizations that—with or without knowing it—block the paths of these precious ones. Come Lord Jesus come.
Prayer: “Help us be the kind of people that open doors (or roofs!) for others to see and know you Lord. Help us be like the paralyzed man in this story who lets himself be lowered through a roof to be near Jesus. Heal your bride the church oh Lord so we can be the community you want us to be.”
By Deb Abbs