Seeing their faith he says "Friend, your sins are forgiven." Luke 5:20
Last Sunday, we covered the story of Jesus healing the man who was brought through the roof by his friends (Luke 5:17-26). Our focus on this particular passage is often on the religious leaders who miss who Jesus is. Or we focus on the paralyzed man whom Jesus heals physically but also spiritually by stating that his sins are forgiven.
But there were also those friends. I picture four of them, each taking a handle of the stretcher. Jesus says that seeing "their" faith, he proclaims that this man's sins are forgiven.
I think the actions of these men are important. I think they are Kingdom of God actions. First off, they recognize that Jesus is someone who can heal their friend from this terrible condition. Second, I think the fact that they bring this man to Jesus is important.
Life in the 1st Century was hard. They didn't have all of the modern conveniences to make our lives comfortable, or at least less complicated. Think about your daily routine, the things that help get you going during the day. Imagine taking 90% of that away. How do you think your life would change by not living in the time and place we live now. I can guarantee it would be a lot more difficult. I can imagine that many of us wouldn't have enjoyed the many years that we have enjoyed here on this earth, me included. If I had the same physical illness that I have now, I would have been looking at a very short life.
Daily routines were challenging, managing a household was hard, work was undoubtedly more challenging for many people. Try adding on the burden of caring for someone who was paralyzed. Those who were seriously ill often found themselves on the streets begging just to stay alive in that day and age. In that day and age, physical illness was also seen to be a result of sin in your life, and nobody wanted to be associated with sinful living. Yet, here are these men who take time to get this man to one who they think can help solve his problem. They were friends of an outcast. They weren't afraid of getting their hands dirty or helping out one who was in dire need.
The religious folks are often called out for passing over those in need. But not these men. Their faith and willingness to help those out who are in need provide an opportunity for healing. They are involved in life-giving actions. They have Kingdom hearts.
My prayer is that we will be a people, not just trying to crowd around Jesus' feet so that we can feel good about ourselves. My prayer is that we will be like the friends who see a person in need and bring that person into Jesus' presence so that real healing can occur.
The religious leaders will leave this gathering seeking self-righteousness and pointing fingers in condemnation. The lame man will leave this gathering healed and forgiven because a couple of his friends had the courage and desire to introduce him to Jesus, the One who saves!