The tiny house was packed full of people, too many people. And they were late. When they arrived “standing room only” had been taken. All late-comers were being turned away at the door. Even people who really needed Jesus. But this didn’t stop the friends carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. One of them had a brilliant idea. “Let’s climb up on the roof, cut a hole in it, and lower him down into the house!” And despite the difficulty and audaciousness of the idea, the other men agreed (Luke 5:17-19, Lee paraphrase).
Many of us know this story well. We learned of it in vacation Bible school drinking Kool-aid and eating cookies. The VBS stories seemed to make this a simple task, but it must have taken a lot of effort. It wasn’t only gutsy; it was hard! I’m sure they were sweating when all was said and done.
I confess, sometimes I don’t want to work that hard. I want more of these men’s spunk.
How do you get a paralyzed man on top of a roof?
Answer: You put the man on your back while someone else carries the mat to the top.
How do you cut a hole in the roof without making a mess and possibly injuring those in the house with the fallen debris?
Answer: V-e-r-y C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y.
Yet I wonder if clods of hardened mud and straw fell on people’s heads as the friends began their Mission Impossible. The crowd was probably disgruntled with these rude party crashers.
It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Though there were no verbal petitions for his healing, the actions of the friends spoke louder than any prayer.
The man received a double blessing that day because of the faith of his friends. Healing and forgiveness. His faith is not mentioned, but theirs is.
Some days I’m the man on the mat. I need help.Some days I’m the judgmental, unforgiving, religious crowd. And some days I’m the friend full of faith and strength.
This is who I want to be every day.
Who do you relate to in this story?
What would faith in action rather than petition look like in today’s “no-tangible-present-Jesus” world?
Much grace and peace,