The genuine and bold faith makes a-way when the doors are closed, and there is no way.
Let us read Mark 2:1-12 for our weekly insight.
“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 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. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some teachers of the Law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
City of Capernaum and four devoted friends of a disabled man.
Four caring and loving friends of the paralytic men were ready to go any extra miles, at an extra cost, to get him to Jesus. They heard Jesus can do miracles. They heard about the miracles of Jesus in healing people, casting demons out of men, stopping raging storms, and raising people from the dead. The four friends knew Jesus could help him. He might have said to him, look, don’t worry, we will physically carry you there in the mat in which he was lying. They knew, and they knew in their heart Jesus would heal their disabled friend.
The lesson that amazes us is when they came to the house where Jesus was teaching, they did something unusual and unorthodox that proves their courageous and risk-taking faith in the Lord Jesus. Hang on we will discuss this later.
The Bible does not give the name of the paralyzed man or his devoted friends. It does not say how long these friends carried him physically to the house Jesus was teaching. However, the Bible describes the incident’s melodramatic account and what their unorthodox steps compelled by the bold faith in Jesus resulted in. It is a breathtaking incident.
Mark says in chapter 2 that Jesus again entered Capernaum. Capernaum was the place where Jesus did many miracles and ministered extensively. The chapter 1:21, Jesus went to Capernaum and began to teach in a synagogue. The people were amazed at his teaching. Not only people loved his miracles, but they also cherished his teachings. A man possessed by an unclean spirit cried out said to Jesus, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” You see, the demons recognized who Jesus really is. They acknowledged ‘the Holy One of God!” Jesus said to him, “be quiet!” and said sternly, “come out of him. The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. People wandered and said, “He even gives orders to unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” News about Jesus spread all around. In Simon’s house, his mother-in-law was sick on the bed. Jesus went up to her, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left, and she began to serve them.
After sunset, the people bought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. It says the whole town gathered at the door of the house, which is Peter’s house. Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He drove out many demons. It says in verse 34 that demons knew who Jesus was. Then Jesus left there to nearby villages. He traveled through the Galilee preaching in the synagogues and driving out demons.
Now chapter 2 begins by saying a few days later, Jesus entered Capernaum again. Jesus is again back at the same home- the house of Simon Peter. People heard He is back in the house, and they gathered in large numbers. All rooms were filled with people. People were at the door of the house and even outside of it. You see, people wanted to see the miracles of Jesus. Also, they wanted to listen to his teaching with authority and compassion.
The four friends of the paralyzed man heard Jesus is in the house of Simon Peter. They may have told their friend something like this – we are going to carry you there. Jesus will heal you fully today. They were excited to see their friend getting healed, and they did not mind carrying him in his mat to the house where Jesus was. They loved their friend who is in trouble and wanted to get him healed.
Faith and action.
The first lesson I learned is this- you will be ready to take dramatic steps due to your faith in Jesus. Your faith and action go hand in hand. Your faith in Jesus prompts your committed and caring actions. You may not be able to do multi activities that prove your faith. However, you would show-forth at least one area of action because of your faith in the Lord.
It is your professed faith in Jesus that saves you. It is by your faith in Jesus that you are forgiven of all your sins. It is the faith in Jesus that grants you eternal life. A believer in Jesus can have faith without actions. It is possible. However, sadly, it is a dead faith. James challenges in his book by saying, “show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” Your faith in Jesus always causes or results in actions. The more faith you have in Jesus, the more dramatic, bold, and theatric you will reveal your faith.
As Jesus was teaching inside the house, Matthew, in his gospel, wrote the information that the Pharisees and teacher of the Law were sitting there and listening to Him. The observation of this information is cardinal for the whole story. The Pharisees and the law teachers were people who thought very highly about themselves in the knowledge and understanding of the Law. At the same time, they wanted to listen to the teaching of Jesus because they also loved his teachings to a certain extent. However, they generally disagreed with the claims of Jesus.
As people loved each word that came out of Jesus, an unusual but touching thing was happening outside the home. Four devoted friends carried a paralyzed man to the house where Jesus was. The paralyzed man cannot move, and his eyes were definitely filled with sadness due to his condition. His friends had injected hope in him again by saying Jesus would heal him completely. So he just thought this might be my day if I can somehow get to Jesus. If my friends can get me there, I can get healed. The moments of his life filled with expectant hope out of his desperate condition. He does not have any hope unless Jesus does something today. He was thinking, help me to get to Jesus. Could you give me a path to get close to Him? His devoted and loving friends were thinking the same way. We love our friend. He can’t move or function. He is hopeless. He needs a word from Jesus. He needs a touch of Him. But the house inside and out was packed with people. And no way to go to Jesus.
Even hearing about Jesus paves the way to blessings.
You see, hearing about Jesus can ignite faith in people. The friends of the person with paralysis heard the wonderworking power of Jesus. They heard about him. They heard he cast demons out of people, they heard even demons acknowledge Jesus as the son of God, they heard about his teachings, and they believed he could help their friend. When you hear about Jesus, divine faith in him will take you to a spiritual discovery and resultant blessings that you ever imagined before. It is essential to hear the truth about Jesus. It is essential to share what you experienced in Jesus with others. As these friends said to the person with paralysis, you can say to your friends that we would carry you to Jesus so that he would heal, help, save and bless you. You see, not only these friends had faith in Jesus, but their faith led them to carry this poor and discouraged man to Jesus. As a result, now the man had expectant hope, if only I can get to Jesus, I would be healed.
You see, effective faith is contagious faith. If you have effective faith, you will share it with your friends and family. Effective faith is also driven by compassion for others. The four friends had love and compassion for his unfortunate friend, who can’t move. Not only was their faith contagious, but also it was driven by their love and compassion. Their compassion compelled them to carry him to Jesus. They said to him, do not worry, we take you there to Jesus. We know you can’t go there by yourself. We are ready to help and carry you there. You see, faith causes contagiousness and compassion. One of the repeated comments made about Jesus just before He performed miracles was this – He was moved by compassion. Moved by compassion, he touched the coffin of the only son of the widow and raised him from the dead, and gave to her. Touched by compassion, Jesus wept and said loudly, Lazarus come forth. The one who was buried for four days came out from the tomb. The Bible says Jesus looked at the multitudes and moved with compassion because He saw them as sheep without a good shepherd.
Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6 this, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.” What does it mean? For Jews, Circumcision was a major thing. However, if faith is not working through love, whatever you think highly, let it be circumcision or, for that part, any legalistic arguments, means nothing.
Genuine faith moves push forward and not backs off
Your traditions, bias thoughts, or cultural upbringings could become an impediment to a faith working through love. Could you stop and think about it? These four friends allowed their faith to work in love by carrying him to Jesus. Maybe they took him many miles. The account does not say how long away they were coming from. However, it was not an easy journey to carry a grown-up man with all his disabilities. However, their contagious and compassionate faith made it happen.
Now outside the house where Jesus was teaching, the paralytic and his faithful friends are faced with severe roadblocks. A significant barrier to get to Jesus. People are packed and crowded around the house; there is no way to go closer to Jesus. However, their faith was not hindered by the barrier or roadblock they experienced there.
This is the next observation that you would never miss from the account. They were unaffected, untouched by the roadblock encountered. On the way to Jesus and his touch of miracle, your faith would usually be faced with roadblocks and barriers. However, the friends are determined in their hearts; this is not the end of the game. We are not going to quit. When you face trials and difficulties because of your faith and trust in Jesus, what are you going to do? Your faith in Jesus must be an overcoming faith- a faith that is not obstructed by obstacles on the way.
You see, your faith pushes you to go forward in barriers and roadblocks. It is never backing off faith. It is pushing forward faith. You see, the devil would say four friends to back off. There is no way to get to Jesus. Just go back. However, faith opens new ways to reach Him.
Unorthodox move to Jesus
Here you go- They said we could not get to Jesus for his touch. But that is not going to stop us. We are going to change our route. They climbed to the house’s roof because they could not go through the door due to the big crowd.
They are on the roof just above where Jesus was inside the house. They broke the roof to bring their friend down right where Jesus was. Dust started falling—pieces of roof materials down on the people and Jesus. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law were annoyed for sure. Their eyes pulled out to look up. What are they doing? Upon the roof? What a disturbance right in the middle of the teaching session of Jesus. Political incorrectness. How could these friends offend the feelings and senses of the religious leaders and people inside the house? Jesus lost the audience’s attention. What a nuisance! Here comes a mat with a man in it. However, the man’s face was filled with faith and hope for his deliverance from debilitating disease. His friend’s faith shined through their tired eyes, looking at Jesus with anguished hope.
I can imagine the religious gurus, says how they could do this rude behavior, messing up the holy messages given by Jesus? How come they became so dis-respective to the teacher and audience? On top of that, Simon Peter’s house roof is broken. I do not have enough money to replace my roof. Amid all the bad feelings of religious leaders, audiences, and Peter, could you focus on Jesus? He saw the disturbed and troubled hope and faith in them. He did not criticize or say a word against them. Jesus saw their faith in him that moved with action.
Remember, Jesus does not need conventional means to come to him. To get his touch and blessings, some times, you may have to go a different route or unorthodox way.
Eyes are locked in.
Eyes locked. Paralytic man’s eyes and Jesus’s. Four devoted friends and Jesus’s. What a moment! The roof broke, and a man is lowered to Jesus with all its noise and trashed flying around. Helpless man with eyes filled with distressed hope. Four other eyes are pleading help, mercy, and healing for their beloved friend.
People like and defend legalism and political correctness. Jesus doesn’t. He looks for anguished and expectant hope resulting from bold faith. This was true in the case of the woman who had a life-long bleeding issue, and that incident is described in Mark 5:25-34 and many other instances.
First thing first always.
Then Jesus immediately responded and said to the paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven.” The man did not say anything to Jesus. His friends did not say anything to Jesus. But Jesus responded to their ardent faith and offered forgiveness of sins to the paralytic man. The friends thought we did not bring him to you, not for that – but we brought him for healing. However, Jesus, who knew all about him, the first thing needed attention first. First, healing must be forgiveness of sins. The sins issue is more significant than any disease issue. If you have debilitative sickness, that won’t take you to hell after death. However, a man who does not address his sins and not needing the only savior, Jesus Christ, would end up there; first thing always comes first. Jesus said, “your sins are forgiven.” By the way, Jesus is the only one who can forgive your sins. No other religious gurus or priests could or would do it. You need Jesus to get you healed inside and make you free from the power and consequences of sins. You need forgiveness from Jesus. That is the first and urgent thing all people need.
Secondly, after taking care of the first thing, Jesus said to him, “Get up, take your mat and walk.” The paralytic man immediately got up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of them all. It says there, “this amazed everyone, and they praised God, saying, we have never seen anything like this!”
Few re-caps from our insight:
- If you hear about Jesus, you are blessed than others because your hearing about Jesus would ignite faith and trust in Him, which would result in wonder-working results for you. The people in the town of Capernaum heard about Jesus; their faith was ignited, energized, and resulted in healing, deliverance, and salvation.
- Hearing about Jesus creates willingness and soft hearts to test and try what he offers- the paralytic man allowed his friends to carry him to Jesus even though the journey was hard and difficult for him to be a disabled man.
- If you have faith in Jesus, you would even take dramatic steps toward Him and His touch. The four friends teach us this lesson.
- Your faith in Jesus is contagious, and it springs from love and compassion- the four friends teach us this lesson.
- Your genuine faith in Jesus would not be alarmed or stopped by roadblocks/barriers. The account of four men and the paralytic teach us this.
- Your faith in Jesus may compel you to take unconventional and unorthodox steps and moves toward Him on certain occasions.
- Your faith in Jesus would be tested severely by legalism, human conventions, traditional and cultural thoughts.
- However, our courageous and ardent steps of genuine faith in Jesus would give fruits/successful results
- The first thing always comes first. We all need forgiveness of sins from the Lord Jesus. None of our sicknesses has the potential to take you to hell at the time of our death. However, without the only Savior Jesus God offers, people would end up there.
- Forgiveness of sins paves the way for other divine healings in our lives.