Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:18-20
What friends this man had! Although their names are not mentioned, the men referenced in this passage of scripture are an example of what true, Christian friendship should look like. I have listed just a few reasons why I believe they should be an example to us all.
1. The friends carried the man because he couldn’t make it on his own. Take a look around your world. Sin is rampant in our culture and we all know people within our own realm so beaten down or bound by sinful choices that they may be unable to move towards Jesus. In essence, they are paralyzed by sin as surely as this man was paralyzed physically. For whatever reason, God has allowed us as believers to be used as part of His work. It is our responsibility to pick up and carry those towards the only one who can heal them.
2. The friends worked as a team. They gathered together, agreed upon what it was he needed for healing, and bore the burden together. Imagine if one friend had tried to carry this man on his own. The physical strength necessary would have been much greater, perhaps resulting in him being more likely to give up when he ran into the obstacle of the crowd. Teamwork provided not only additional physical strength, but also more ideas of how to face the obstacles. The verse doesn’t tell us which of the men came up with the idea of lowering the paralytic through the roof.
3. The friends didn’t give in when things became difficult. They faced several obstacles in getting this man to Jesus, but they didn’t give up! The text says they could not find a way to lay the man at the feet of Jesus because of the crowd, indicating that they tried and were stopped by the crowd. They could have given up right then, but they didn’t. They searched for another way to reach Jesus. How quick are we to give up when someone does not seem to respond to us despite the fact that we know they need Jesus?
4. They made a way. These friends were outside the box thinkers! They could not reach Jesus because of the crowd but they were determined and persistent. They carried the man to the roof and lowered him down on his mat through the tiles. They took drastic measures to make certain this man reached Jesus.
5. Where did they take him? They didn’t offer him advice of the world. They didn’t try to heal him with the latest fad going around the nation. They knew what he needed—Jesus—and nothing else would do. They didn’t care who scoffed at them or told them to get lost. Their determination to get him to Jesus was proof enough of their knowledge that nothing and no one else could heal him. Even Jesus saw and noticed their faith.
But what does this type of friendship look like in our world today? How do we carry people to Jesus? As believers, we all know Jesus is the great healer, not only physically but spiritually. This week, I challenge you to ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you. Ask him to show you the paralyzed needing your help, as well as the faith and determination to carry them to Christ.