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Bringing a Friend to Jesus

Mark 2:1-5
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, 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 by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' (NIVUK)

It is a curious fact that God delights to reveal His character in response to faith. Although many people are confused in their understanding about faith, it is really quite simple.  Faith is not a feeling to be generated - it is the essence of relationship.  Real friendship is impossible unless we share ourselves with each other.  Faith is a practical decision to commit yourself to another person because you believe that they will not disappoint you.  So it is with God.  He discloses His character and we trust Him to express His nature: as we worship Him, He meets our need.  

When Jesus was invited to someone's home, curious crowds gathered, inside and around the house, to see what He was like.  One man could not get near.  He was late and he was paralysed: but four friends carried him to the house.  Nobody would let them through to see Jesus, so the men took their friend up the outside steps onto the flat roof.  Pulling off the outer waterproof thatch they made a hole and lowered the man down in front of the Lord.  This was taking faith to extraordinary lengths and Jesus responded by announcing His divine nature as He forgave the man's sins.

Whose faith did Jesus see?  The men had all agreed to get their friend to Jesus and accepted no obstacle because they believed that Jesus could heal the man (Matthew 18:19-20).  The man also was in agreement because when Jesus turned to him, his sins were forgiven before his body was healed.  Although healing was a sign of the Lord's divine authority, His primary mission was to save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).  That is the centre point of the gospel; and the trainee apostles needed to understand that early on – otherwise they might think that their role was to be empowered health-workers rather than to announce eternal salvation through Jesus.  

When the four men half demolished the roof to bring a sick man to Jesus, they were acting in faith. They believed in Jesus.  They believed that if they could get the man to Jesus, He would do the rest: and Jesus did!  He saw more than just the physical weakness; He saw a spiritual cripple who trusted Him, and He forgave his sins.  This story should make us wonder what might happen if we trusted Jesus with every situation (2 Thessalonians 1:11).  Could He meet the deepest needs of our friends and colleagues?  Theoretically, we might believe, but if we have done nothing to bring our associates to Jesus - what kind of faith is that? 

Gracious Father God. Thank You that You are willing to save all who come to You. Please forgive me for my reluctance to be pro-active in bringing my friends to You. Strengthen my faith in You that I may have confidence to do whatever is necessary for my friend to encounter my Saviour. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams