Medicine proved no benefit. This once healthy young man was left paralyzed, unable to move. The only thing that had changed was his family’s future.
One of his friends caught wind that a Teacher was in town. This Carpenter turned Rabbi not only healed lepers and cast out demons, He even tamed the weather on occasion. His stories kept people spellbound with authority.
“Maybe,” someone suggested, “This Teacher can loosen paralysis.”
Their first attempt to reach the Healer was simple enough. It only took one friend to carry the handicapped man through the streets. Yet as they neared the house, crowds overflowed out the doorway and down the lanes, with standing room only. Every resident from Capernaum and its countryside must have been there that day. No amount of pushing and shoving gained access.
They needed to regroup.
Time was of the essence. With the door and windows blocked, the suggestion of the roof teetered on the ridiculous. Reason pointed out there was no opening from above.
“We’ll make one,” was the reply.
With the disabled man staring in unbelief, his friends rigged a simple rope system onto the corners of his sleeping mat. This scheme could not only haul him through the streets and onto the roof, but also lower him into the house once the breach was made.
It was almost noon by the time the dig began. The four men unsheathed their knives and went to work on all fours to break up the tile. With a pallet-sized section of the terra cotta removed, they began the tougher challenge of chiseling through the sun-hardened layer of mud. Once they reached the packed heather and reeds, the excavation went quickly, evidenced by the dust filtering onto heads below.
Despite disrupting a vital parable, the four remained obstinate, tenacious, and unshakable. The inevitable grumbling from the unsettled crowd didn’t halt their progress. Neither did the upturned eyes of the Master. Nothing stopped their bull-dogged determination.
With singular resolve, they had lugged, hoisted, and clawed their friend toward Hope.
“And seeing their faith….(Jesus) said to the paralytic…’Rise, and take up your stretcher and go home’” (Luke 5:20,24).
“Seeing their faith.” Their faith. It wasn’t the conviction of the paralytic himself, but the faith of his friends.
Who do I know too weak to get to Jesus? Will I scrap and fight to get them there? Charles Spurgeon said: “Smash or crash, everything shall go to pieces which stands between the soul and its God: it matters not what tiles are to be taken off, what plaster is to be digged up, or what boards are to be torn away…the soul is too precious for us to stand upon nice questions.”
Will I tenaciously bear their weight in prayer? Will you? Will we go around, over, and through whatever obstacles block our way? Will we seek others to join the effort?
Jesus is able to do “exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that you can ask or think.” He doesn’t need to be begged or convinced, but He does need to be faithed. Your faith can’t save lives, but it can bear them into Life-giving Presence.