Helping Hand

“Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.” (Mark 2:3-4, NIV)

Jesus returned to Capernaum after preaching in the synagogues. Jesus was popular during the time because of His preaching and the miracles that He performed. It did not take long for word to spread by mouth that Jesus had returned. The dynamic movement and action found in the Gospel of Mark provides us with a picture of Jesus, the servant. He was on a mission, and he had a sense of urgency about accomplishing His purpose.

Mark 2:2 tells us that “they gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.” I see shoulder-to-shoulder people in the house in my vivid imagination, people spilling out the front door, all down the street. You would think that since all these people came out in this crowd, they came to hear a word from the Lord, but that was not the case at all. Instead, many viewed Jesus’ ability to draw a crowd as potentially dangerous, and some religious and political leaders came to make a case against Him.

It is against this backdrop in Mark 2:3-4, “Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.” There is no apparent movement, but they pushed their way through the crowd, pressing towards the presence of Jesus.

This story has great significance for us in 2021. I observed behaviors and attitudes in these men that demonstrated they were united by faith and imitating Jesus.

  1. They met the man where his human condition had taken him.  This man could not walk. We do not know the how or the why of his condition. But we know that he could not make it to Jesus on his own.
  2. Their compassion and love lifted the man in his condition.
  3. They worked together in unity. These men realized it was not about them. God’s work is more significant than you and me. It is about leading others to Jesus.
  4.  They had to overcome some barriers to get to Jesus.

Carrying that paralyzed man, these men of faith and of resource ascended the stairs to the roof. There is nothing in the Scripture that indicates they had any tools, but they begin to dig. Jesus was on the inside preaching. The passage does not say what He was preaching, but remember Jesus was on a mission. Maybe He was preaching, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

It was faith and love that carried those men up the stairs. Faith and love dug the hole and supported the paralyzed man as they lowered him, stopping at the feet of Jesus. First, Jesus healed the man’s spiritual condition of sin; that was his main point of need. Jesus did cure the man, and he was able to walk. But Jesus does not always heal our physical conditions. Instead, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, He gives us what we need to endure.

Who do you need to bring to Jesus? Are you suffering from passive Christianity? Are you waiting for someone else to do what God desires for us all to do?  Bring others to Jesus!

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.” – Martin Luther