To What Lengths Would You Go?
One afternoon the Savior was teaching in a home. Having heard that the Savior was there, a group of men brought their friend who lay sick with palsy on a bed. The home was full, and the doorway was crowded. It didn’t take long before the four men realized they were not going to be able to get inside. But the men didn’t give up.
The scriptures tell us, “they sought means to bring him in,” and to lay him before the Lord. (Luke 5:18) Giving up was not an option. Their intent was to bring their friend to Christ.
So, they came up with a plan. “They went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.” (Luke 5:19)
Now, stop and consider this for a minute.
How did the four men get that man and his couch onto the roof? It couldn’t have been easy. Have you ever been involved with moving a couch? Now, think of how that experience would have been if your sick friend was lying on the couch while you moved it. I imagine there was a ladder involved and a lot of thought. Someone probably had to hold on to the man on the couch. There must have been someone on the roof to lift, and someone down below to support. There would have been someone who was willing to add strength as the man ascended to the roof.
Consider those four assignments ––to lift, to support, to hold on to, and to strengthen.
Have you ever found yourself in one of those roles as you tried to care for a friend?
Now, we must keep in mind that the roof was not the final destination. Once the friends got on the roof there was more work to be done. In Mark 2 we learn that the roof had to be uncovered and broken up, which would have required a lot of effort.
Once they had lowered the man carefully into the room where Jesus was, a very interesting conversation took place. Both accounts in the New Testament phrase this conversation exactly the same way. We read, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Luke 5, Mark 2, emphasis added.)
Take note of the word their.
Whose faith is the Savior talking about?
The line doesn’t read, “When Jesus saw his faith…” it reads, “When Jesus saw their faith.” Is He talking about the four friends? The ones who lifted, supported, held onto, and strengthened the sick man? Was it through both the great lengths of their effort and the great faith of these friends that the Lord was able to heal this man?
Is the same true today?
Sometimes when I read this chapter I stop and ask myself, to what lengths would I go to bring a friend to Christ?
There is much we can learn from this story.
I love the lesson we are taught by these four men. They, in and of themselves, could not heal their friend. They could not fix the ailment. Their responsibility was simple and yet profound ––the greatest gift they could give their friend was to bring him to the Lord. They were not the healers or the teachers, but they could lead their friend to the One who could heal, to the One who could teach.
It would require faith.
It would also require lifting, supporting, strengthening, and holding on.
It would lead to miracles.
I believe the same is true today.