I spent the last two weeks studying a passage of Scripture (Luke 5:17-26) and “learning it by heart,” for a Biblical storytelling class I was taking. It was an interesting experience, and I discovered that when I devoted a lot of time to this one Bible passage, I began to see things I hadn’t noticed before, or to see them differently. Through this familiar Bible story, God spoke new things to me. I would like to share some of the insights God gave me during the process of learning, practicing, and telling the story to others.
17 One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; 19 but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. 20 When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” 25 Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. 26 Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.” ~Luke 5:17-26
In this story, I see examples of strong friendships, great courage, and bold faith. The man who was paralyzed had friends who really cared about him. They were willing to carry him, on his bed, so that he could have the opportunity to be healed by Jesus. The story doesn’t say how far they carried him, but I imagine it was far enough for him to get very heavy. The love these men had for their friend in need, was stronger than their concern about his weight. He was not a burden for them.
The friends of the paralyzed man were also courageous. It was brave of them to make the attempt. After all, they were bringing their friend to a teacher they had only heard about. They had no idea whether they would be able to get close to Jesus, or how they would be received if they succeeded. Would he be willing to heal their friend? They knew they had to find the courage to try.
These incredible friends also demonstrated a bold faith. They believed Jesus could heal their friend, if they could just get him close enough. They were not deterred by the large crowd of people trying to see and hear Jesus. When the men couldn’t find a way in through all the people, they went up on the roof and made their own way in. They removed some tiles from the roof and lowered their friend to the ground right in front of Jesus. That was a bold move! What faith these men must of had in Jesus’ power to heal their friend.
I want to have friendships as strong, courage as great, and faith as bold as the men in this story. I want to be willing to bear the weight of my friends’ troubles when they need me. I want to bring my friends who are in need of healing and lay them at the feet of Jesus. How can I do that? He is not sitting and teaching in a house I where I can go. No, He is not. But He is available through prayer. When I pray for my friends and their needs, it’s just like bringing them and laying them at the feet of Jesus. I have not always had the courage and faith to be bold in my prayers, but I would like to work on that.
There are so many hurting people in the world; and you can find turmoil, anger, hatred, and unrest all around. Maybe it’s time we all get bold with our prayers. Let’s bring all our concerns and lay them before our Savior. He has the power to heal.