Jesus is always willing. Throughout His ministry, whenever someone is brought to Him who is suffering, He heals them. When people have questions, spoken or unspoken, Jesus answers them. He doesn’t always give the answers they want, but He always answers.
Jesus is always willing, but we aren’t always desperate. Today, I want to talk about some desperate people.
In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), there’s a story about Jesus healing a paralytic (someone who is paralyzed). Matthew tells the story like this:
Some people brought to Him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2, NLT).
Jesus then goes on to heal the man so that he can walk. Personally, I prefer the way Mark tells the story because Matthew doesn’t really tell us the setting of this miracle and sometimes setting is very important.
Mark chapter 2, verses 1-12 tell us about the same miracle but with more details. First, Jesus was teaching in someone’s home.
Soon the house where He was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door (Mk. 2:2, NLT).
Soon four guys show up carrying their paralyzed friend on a pallet, which is basically a long wooden bed covered with a mat. They see that there’s no possible way to get them and the pallet carrying their friend through the crowd to get close to Jesus; the house is just too crowded. These guys know that if they can just get their friend close to Jesus, that he will be healed, so they resort to some desperate measures.
They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above His head. Then they lowered the man on his mat right down in front of Jesus (Mk. 2:4, NLT).
Let’s think about this for a moment.
- These guys are carrying their friend on a pallet. Combined with the weight of both the wooden pallet and their friend, it was probably pretty heavy and it’s likely that they’d been carrying it for a while.
- They climbed up on the roof of someone else’s home!
- Then they dug through the roof! They dug a hole the length of a man’s body so that they could lower their friend down without tipping the pallet. Everything had to stay horizontal or their friend would fall as they tried to lower him down.
- Then they attach ropes to the pallet and lower their friend through the hole until he’s right in front of Jesus.
How many of you can honestly say that you would’ve gone to the same trouble for a friend of yours? I have to say, I think I would’ve just told my friends that we should come back another day when there were fewer people. I don’t know if I would’ve gone to all that trouble.
Then the Bible says something cool.
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven” (Mk. 2:5, NLT).
Did you catch that? “Seeing their faith.” Jesus didn’t forgive and heal the paralyzed man because of his faith. Jesus healed the paralyzed man because of the faith of his friends! These guys were so sure that Jesus could heal their friend that they never gave up, they risked their safety and damaged someone else’s home in order to get their friend to Jesus. That’s how desperate their faith was and it’s the kind of desperate faith that we as Christians should have.
Girls, how would you respond if someone dug a hole in your church’s roof just to get their friend to a place filled with God’s Spirit? How do you think your church would respond? Is your faith that desperate?
But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith” (Mark 5:36).
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