“Four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 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.”
–Mark 2:3-4 (NLT)
The above verses paint a vivid picture, and they also provide the beginning of the tale of one of Jesus’ miracles. If you haven’t read this story yet, please take the time to read it before you continue reading my thoughts about it. If you already know this story, please think about these opening verses with me and allow them to provide some background for our devotion.
While verse 3 opens with the paralyzed man being carried by his four friends, there are certain details which Mark provides in earlier verses that we need to consider. First, Jesus had just returned home, and he was undoubtedly tired. Mark also tells us that the place was so packed, that there was no room outside the door.
Think about the last time you came home from a long trip. Can you imagine being so hot and tired and ready to spend some quiet time at home, only to face a crowd of curious onlookers? I sure can’t, and I cringe when I think about the fact that Jesus had no car or air conditioning. But as always, He handled this situation masterfully, and He taught when there was standing room only.
The parallel passage in Luke chapter 5 provides us with even more details. There were Pharisees and doctors of the law present while all this was going on. By putting these passages together, you can not only see that Jesus was exhausted, but that the atmosphere in the house where He was would have been filled with tension and skepticism.
Having offered some background, then, let’s see what we can learn from this passage. To do this, I’d like to divide it up by using three P’s, which are Passion, Persistence and Platform. So, let’s get started with the first P, and examine some life-changing principles.
The Bible says that we love Jesus because He loved us first, and in this passage Christ demonstrates His love. Although worn out from his travels, He was concerned about the people, and so He lovingly served them. In everything we do for Christ, we need to remember that we are doing it in response to what He did for us. In return we must cultivate a deep and passionate love for Him, a love that will carry us through hard times and offer peace and joy in it’s wake.
“That sounds great,” you might say, “but how do I do that?” Well, the Bible says that When we draw close to God, He will draw close to us. Regardless of what we feel or don’t feel, we need to take Him at His Word, drawing near to Jesus in prayer. We need to be real with Him, telling Him that in spite of our feelings, we are basing our lives on what He has said.
In a quiet place, ask Him to give you a hunger for His word. Let Him speak to you each day by being still before Him, as you begin to see God’s great love for you in the pages of scripture. You will soon find that rather than being a duty, spending time with God will become a delight.
The second quality is persistence, and we can see that quality in the paralyzed man’s four friends. First, they took the time and effort to carry their friend to the house where Jesus was preaching. Once they reached the house, they didn’t give up in the face of other obstacles.
I understand that Bible study and prayer may seem difficult at times, but we need to be like these four friends, who gave their all in spite of the cost. God loves you with an everlasting love, and He only wants your best.
I have gone through many delays and denials in my life, only to find that they were the best thing that could have happened to me. When I don’t understand what God is saying, I try to rest in the fact that He sees and knows all. I have finally discovered that it is in my best interest to let Him direct my paths.
This leads to the third p, namely platform. Again, I will use the paralyzed man’s friends as an example.
Fervent prayer and diligent Bible study will bring you to Jesus in a new way. Just as the four friends brought the paralyzed man to Jesus, He invites you to come to Him in spite of the obstacles you may be facing.
In summary, I hope that the P’s of Passion, Persistence and Platform will be helpful to you, and that they will give you a new handle on this story. Since we are all paralyzed by sin, we need to dig through the figurative roof, raise it, and come face to face with Christ.
Life may be hard for you, but discovering these truths will enable you to live with new purpose and meaning. Like the paralyzed man in the story, when we confess our sins to Him, Jesus puts us on a new path. In love, He releases the chains of life, telling us to take up our beds and walk.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.