“Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven… and he said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go home.’” (Mark 6:3-5, 10b-11)
For many years all I saw in this passage was Jesus forgiving this man’s sins and then healing his paralysis.
Recently, though, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. When Jesus “saw their faith,” that is, the faith of the man’s four friends, He was inspired to speak, forgive, act, and heal the paralyzed man.
Today’s story has caused me to consider how our faith can influence how or when Jesus acts in someone else’s life. Although Jesus can do whatever He wants whenever He wants to do it, we can’t deny that the faith of the friends prompted Jesus to act for their handicapped friend.
This paralyzed man had four incredible friends who wanted to bring their ailing friend to Jesus. When they discovered they couldn’t get near to Jesus, they dismantled the roof of the building and lowered their friend down to where Jesus was speaking. That was real love for their friend. That was real faith in Jesus.
What would’ve happened to that paralyzed man without his friends? No healing. No forgiveness. Nothing. But when Jesus saw their faith and incredible efforts, He decided to forgive and heal that man, and that formerly handicapped man stood up, picked up his mat, and walked home whole, forgiven, and free.
This story shows that Jesus can and will sometimes work through our faith to heal and forgive others. Today’s story encourages us to believe and act like those four friends.
- How has Jesus worked through someone else’s faith to make a difference in your life?
- How might Jesus have worked through your faith to make a difference in someone else’s life?
- The four friends in today’s story passionately loved their handicapped friend and fervently believed in Jesus. Have you ever had any friends like them? And, have you ever been a friend like that to anyone else?