How is your heart? Are you willing to go to extreme measures to help a friend in need? Are you willing to risk crossing the social barriers to help your friend? Mark 2 tells a story of a very sick man who had palsy. Palsy is a disease that causes weakness and paralysis of the body. This poor man had been so sick for so long he lacked good personal hygiene and had an unbearable stench, he was literally decaying from neglect.
This man was fortunate that in spite of his physical being and his emotional distress his friends loved and cared about him. You see they had heard of Jesus and his healing powers and decided that no matter what they would take their friend to Jesus to be healed. They put their friend on a stretcher and walked to the house where Jesus was speaking. The doorway and house was completely blocked by a crowd of people. These determined friends would not be discouraged, they decided to take extreme measures. They hoisted their friend up onto the roof. Can you imagine all the noise, shouting, grunting, dragging, dropping, and then footsteps on the roof? Then you see debris falling from the ceiling and you see a man on a stretcher being lowered before Jesus. Jesus saw the determination and faith of this man's friends and said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." The man was healed! Can you imagine the joy of this man and his endless gratitude?
But this isn't all to the story. Let's consider a few things:
1.) His friends could of left their friend suffering and said oh well we'll let nature take it's course we've done all we can, we'll keep you in our prayers.
2.) When his friends arrived at the house where Jesus was they could of said wow, there's no hope of getting in here and said I'm sorry man, there's just no way in. No they believed so strongly they took extreme measures.
3.) Let's think about the crowd. While they didn't say no you can't come in, they did block the way by not moving and chose to ignore the pleas of the man's friends to let them through. How many times have you or I turned a blind eye to someone in need choosing to just stand by looking and not making way? Choosing not to lend a helping hand.
4.) After Jesus healed the man, there were those within the crowd who criticized Jesus for forgiving the man's sins. Do we stand back observing and criticize Jesus intervening power in someone's life or do we rejoice over the lost lamb?
In closing I ask who are you in the crowd? Do you have heart trouble?
Written by Debra Cox