Mark 2:1-12 (NLT) “When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 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. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Jesus had gone back to Capernaum. Word spread quickly and crowds of people came and listened to Jesus as he preached God’s word to them. We find in this passage a man who was paralyzed. He was unable to get to Jesus on his own.
What are things that keep you from being able to get to Jesus? What paralyzes you and renders you immobile, unable to move towards God who loves you? Is it fear? Fear of what you think that you will lose or must give up… Is it an unhealthy relationship or habit that you just can’t break free from? Is it pride or an overwhelming feeling or concern of what others will think of you? Maybe it’s your own idea of what you think religion should or shouldn’t be like that leaves you stuck in a rigid box of rules and regulations. Whatever barriers you face, the things that grip you and hold you captive, please know that there is hope at the feet of Jesus.
This story brings out such a beautiful picture of how important friends are in our life. Please be warned… Not all friends are created equal. I Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” Not all friends can be trusted with your heart. You must be wise when choosing your friends. Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” The friends you choose will influence you for good or bad. They will carry you closer to Jesus or pull you further away. Proverbs 18:1-2 puts it this way… “Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” In contrast Proverbs 18:4 says, “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.” You see the words that we allow to be spoken to us go from our minds, to our hearts, to our actions. Words, and the advice from friends, can be life giving or speak death into our life that get us on the wrong path.
The man in this story was blessed with four amazing friends.
Friends are such a God given blessing in our lives. They have so many benefits! Our friends help us build our character in Christ. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” There is strength, support, and warmth through good healthy friendships. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” We see this again in Exodus chapter seventeen. The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites. In Exodus 17:11 as long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. In verse twelve, when Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. In verse thirteen, we see that this is what allowed Joshua to totally defeat their enemy. I’m mean WOW! Moses was God’s man sent to deliver his people out of bondage; but even he grew tired and could not do it alone! Joshua was God’s warrior sent out to defeat the enemy coming out against God’s people, but the army’s strength wasn’t enough, he too couldn’t do it alone! Just like this paralyzed man in this story, we too need others, it’s by God’s design.
In verse four of Mark chapter two, this man’s friends hit barriers trying to get their friend to Jesus. They hit a wall of people around Jesus and their pathway to Him was blocked. Sometimes we too need our friends' help to get us past the “people” blocking us from the healing touch of Jesus in our life.
These four friends were determined. This man didn’t have the strength to do what was needed to get healing; but his friends willingly stood in the gap on their friends behalf. Sometimes we need our friends to stand in the gap for us too, so that we can borrow from their strength.
By lifting their friend up and carrying him onto the roof, they positioned their friend to a place where he could receive healing from Jesus. We too, at some point, will need our friends to fight for us by lifting us up towards the heavens, placing us before Jesus, in prayer. Their prayers and strength lift us up over and around the barriers in our lives that we are unable to.
Next, we see this man’s friends getting their hands dirty. They dug a hole in the roof to make a way for their friend to reach Jesus. Our friends are our support in helping us remove anything in our life that doesn’t need to be there. They help us to see ways to Jesus instead of just a “roof”.
Then these men, with all the love and faith and strength that they had, laid their friend at the feet of Jesus. This is the true key, our friends are a source of help and support to us to get us to the only one who can truly heal. Our friends do NOT have the ability to heal or fix us. Good healthy friends will realize that their job is to help each other to get to the feet of Jesus. For Jesus is the only one who can truly heal!
Jesus saw the faith of this man’s friends. It was this man’s friend’s faith that carried him. It was his friend’s faith that got him to the point where he could receive forgiveness and healing from Jesus. Jesus doesn’t just stop at the forgiveness of our sins; but He also wants to bring healing to our body, soul, mind, and spirit. Which is exactly what was done here. Jesus’s words are so powerful. It was His words that healed this man. When He told him to stand up, pick up your mat, and go home. This man immediately jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. He was carried to Jesus in desperation and left walking fully healed and restored, praising God.
I’m quickly reminded of Hebrews 11:6 “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Jeremiah 29:13 “If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.” Jesus’ words still bring healing today! Don’t let anything stand in your way. Don’t isolate yourself from the love and support from the people God’s given you. Don’t stay paralyzed by anything that pulls you away from the hope, love, and restoration only He can provide.
Father, You are our Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. You have come to seek and save the lost. You have come to heal the broken hearted. I stand in the gap for every woman reading this blog today. In the name of Jesus, I cry out to You, Jehovah Rapha; and I ask for any healing that is needed for their body, soul, mind, or spirit. I pray Isaiah 10:27 over them asking You to bring to an end any bondage that they may be in; and for You to bring a breaking of their yolk and to lift it from their shoulders. Restore them Father. May Your mighty words, that You speak over their life, bring healing and allow them to get up and move past whatever holds them captive. Pull them out of the miry pits that they have found themselves in and set them on a solid rock of Your foundation. I pray for good God fearing friends to be brought into their lives. I pray that You will remove any toxic relationships from their lives, Father. I pray that you will silence the enemy in their life. Let the only words that they hear be Yours. Let Your truth wash over them as You renew their minds and hearts in You. Do what ONLY You can do, my Father. Help them Father. I pray for all the power of heaven to be dispatched on their behalf. I ask this in the powerful, healing name of Jesus - AMEN