A devotional thought from Adam Harwood for “Human Life”
Jesus drew crowds. And when He had crowds, He would teach. On one occasion, Jesus taught a packed house. Literally. (See Mark 2:1-12.)
A paralytic had four friends who cared about him and believed Jesus could change his life. A paralytic man has many emotional and physical struggles, but in our culture there is some help. Government programs provide financial help. Wheelchairs and ramps make restaurants and public places accessible. But none of those things were in place in the first century. The paralytic man was left to beg. Any assistance offered by his friends was a lifeline.
This man’s friends assisted him by destroying someone’s roof. Like today, a first-century roof was meant to keep the outside elements outside. Although Mark doesn’t mention the cost, the four friends must have known that cutting a hole in the roof was going to cost them. After all, someone had to pay for the repairs to the roof. And they were the ones who cut the hole. But they were determined to get their friend to Jesus, even if it cost them.
Before Jesus declared forgiveness of the paralytic man’s sins, Jesus saw their faith (v. 5). Whose faith? The text does not clarify, but the plural pronoun “their” refers to the faith of more than one person. Jesus saw the faith of either the friends or the friends and the man. The paralytic man believed Jesus could change his life; his friends shared that belief. But instead of healing his body, Jesus forgave his sins. Then Jesus healed the man’s physical condition to demonstrate His authority to forgive sins.
Pause and Reflect
• If getting a friend to Jesus would cost you, how much would you be willing to pay?
• Is there a person in your life whom God might touch in response to your faith?
• Is it possible that the paralytic man had cursed his condition? How do you think he felt about his paralytic condition after it provided him the opportunity to be forgiven of his sin?