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!” – Mark 2:1-12
I was sick. Miserable. Really hurting. Fever. Congestion. Cough. I felt really crummy. Then I started to feel even worse! The fever began to rise. I had the chills. I felt really, really bad. So I asked Diane to pray for me. I remember this moment. She gathered our sons who were present then, and they prayed for me.
What a wonderful feeling that was! Her hand on my head felt cool – a relief to my fevered temperature – and kind. She cared about me. She loved me. Had I not gotten better, I still would have felt loved and cared for.
But I did begin to feel better. The fever broke within 5 minutes! I began to be relieved of my headache. The coughing began to subside. Diane prayed. God answered. I was grateful.
I imagine that after the man who was paralyzed may have felt a bit self-conscious being carried through the town toward the house where Jesus was. He may have felt discouraged when he learned that the crowd was so large that they could not get to Jesus. He might have felt embarrassed when his friends carried him up to the roof and begin to tear it open and lower him through the hole they had made. Maybe he felt those things.
It is clear, however, that when Jesus healed him he felt great joy. I suspect that he felt deep gratitude toward Jesus and his friends who brought him to Jesus.
And so it is: We may sometimes need to be carried to Jesus. We may sometimes carry our friends. We may sometimes see a miracle. We may sometimes simple sit and pray. Whenever we do bring a friend to Jesus – through prayer or the milk of human kindness – God notices. Just like Jesus saw their faith, and like when he reports to the gathered people at the end of time, “you’ve done it for me,” God takes note of us.
And I promise you…if you pray for a friend, you will bring the love of Jesus to him or her. If she is healed there will be praise to God. If he must wait for the healing to come, they will feel the tough of his love. Either way, we are part of a good and holy moment.