Have you ever read the story of the paralytic in Mark 2?
You know the story I’m talking about; the one where Jesus was teaching, as He does, in a house that was packed out. There was no room ANYWHERE, the overflow’s overflow was overfilled. Well a group of friends heard on the grapevine that this Jesus fellow was pretty good with healing people, even other paralytics, so they brought their friend, a paralytic, to get healed. Unfortunately for them, everyone and their brother had heard the same thing; every square inch was filled with those who needed to hear His voice, to feel His presence and to experience healing. Most people would have sadly turned around and ho hummed their way back home. Not these guys; they decided that if they couldn’t get near Jesus THROUGH the crowd they would get their another way. So they climbed… with their paralytic friend and his mat… to the roof, dug THROUGH the roof and then lowered their friend in.
Usually when I read this story I think about the paralytic. I think about how helpless he must have felt to have to rely on someone else to bring him. How out of control his life must have felt that he had no ability to change his situation. How amazing it must have been to watch a man who had lived his life on a mat just roll it up and walk off.
Not today. Today I thought about his friends. Mark 2:4-5 reads, “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw THEIR faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins have been forgiven.’” When Jesus saw THEIR faith – now I don’t know if it was the faith of the man and his friends or if it was just the faith of his friends that caught Jesus’ attention. But think about that for just a second, what if it was just THEIR faith that brought about the paralytic’s healing? Jesus wasn’t wrought with compassion for the man instead He was struck by their faith.
I can’t help but think about how many paralytic people my own life holds. You know who I’m talking about, the person who due to hurt, pain, experience can’t seem to stand on their own two feet. The person who has been kicked around by life and they no longer have the strength or even the desire to do anything but lie on their “mat.” They can’t seem to change their circumstances and maybe they don’t care to.
Maybe they don’t have the faith. Maybe they don’t have to.
I believe that we have been called, I have been called to be a mat carrier. Am I willing, when the house is packed to climb to the roof and dig through to bring them into the presence of Jesus? Am I willing to make room for them when it doesn’t look like there is? Am I willing, even with the chance that nothing may happen?
And when I have done all that, will I have faith?
In my journal today I wrote this, “What I love about the healing in Mark 2 is that it wasn’t a man looking sorry that caught His attention but the faith in Him and the love of the man who took them to great heights. They threw away convention and ease believing that if they go their friend into the Presence of Jesus, then he would be healed. Do I have this faith? Am I willing to think outside the box, to work hard, to pursue and to carry those around me so that they would be healed? Do I love them enough? Do I believe Him enough?”
The heart of these friends was built on love and faith. Love for the paralytic and faith in Jesus. And so, for me, a fellow mat carrier, my heart must be the same. Love for the paralytic, for the people, and faith in Jesus.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Yesterday, I prayed that before I “pursued” any ministry at my new church that I would truly and deeply love the people. I have a love that comes with knowing and feeling the love God has for them, but I want the love that comes through community and fellowship and knowing them. Today, God challenged me to be their mat carrier for there is no greater love than to bring someone who cannot bring themselves into the very presence of the one who save, heals, redeems and loves.
I am a mat carrier. Are you?