Summary: God took extreme measures to provide a healing for us. Shouldn’t we do the same for others?
Last week we looked at the lengths people will go for a healing. Naaman went to a prophet in a foreign land. The leper disregarded the law of the Old Testament to call out to Jesus for a healing. This morning we’re going to look at more extreme measures that people took to help others receive a miracle of healing from Jesus.
We enter the story with Jesus speaking the word in a home in Capernaum. “So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door…” The place was packed! In this day and age, we see crowds like that for sports stars, celebrities, and the like. Everyone crowds around trying to get a glimpse, a picture, or maybe even touch this “famous person”.
But this was no rock star. No, this was just some carpenter from Nazareth who hung out with a ragtag bunch of guys. Why was the crowd to see Jesus so large? He was just “…speaking the word…”.
We have preachers today “speaking the word” every Sunday. And it’s not uncommon to hear of preachers “speaking the word” in churches filled with hundreds and even thousands in attendance. Some churches have such large attendance that they are bursting at the seams, they are so crowded they have to add a second, third, maybe even a fourth service to meet the needs of the people. “So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them…”
I have to ask why. Why are they there? Why is the attendance so high at some of these churches? Is it because of the high-profile, charismatic preacher? Or is it because they have come to worship God and hear some plain ol’ preacher “speak the word” of God? I hope it is because of the latter.
That is why there is SRO; Standing Room Only at the house where Jesus has taken up residence for a time. The people were, whether they knew it or not, there to worship God and hear God himself, in the person of Jesus, “speak the word”. Maybe they were curious about this Jesus fella. Maybe they had heard about his healing of the leper. Maybe they had no idea who they were even trying to see, they just saw the crowd and joined in the excitement.
For whatever reason, the place was packed. That is why, when these latecomers show up, they can’t even get near the place. They probably had to park at some outlying parking lot and take the shuttle bus to get there. They were probably late because they lived down the road a ways and forgot about the time change in the next county. But they came. And we know why they came. They knew Jesus was in the house. They knew their friend needed a healing. And SRO or not they weren’t giving up.
Now let me ask you: If some famous person, let’s say Billy Graham, was passing through town here and you just had to see him. And the crowd around his limo is just huge, you can barely see the car from the fringe of the crowd where you stand. But you just gotta see him! So you fight your way through the crowd to the front of the car, jump up on the hood, denting it, smearing mud from your shoes all over the windshield, you bend the windshield wipers, climb on the roof, denting it, stick your head through the sunroof, and say, “Hey Billy, can I get your autograph for my wife?”
What do you think would happen? Anybody other than Billy Graham, I think you know. Well, that’s pretty much what these four guys do in our scripture. They would have a hard enough time squeezing into the house themselves, but to try and carry in a guy on a stretcher, too? Moses wasn’t with them to part this sea of humanity. So they had to go to plan B.
As the commercial says, they were gonna “hit the roof”. They get up on the roof of this guy’s house and start ripping a hole in it. Now roofs in those days were made of beams about 3 feet apart and overlaid with reeds, branches, then covered with a layer of clay. So it wouldn’t be hard to tear a hole in this type of roof, but I’m sure you can just imagine what would happen.
If any of you have done remodeling requiring tearing down drywall, you know it’s not a clean job. There’s smaller particles and dust everywhere. Quite a mess. So these 4 are pulling away chunks of clay, bits of dirt and dried leaves falling all over those below.
The owner’s yelling up at them, “Quit tearing up my house! I’m gonna sue!” Others are covering themselves to keep the dirt off and giving them dirty looks, maybe yelling at them, too. This doesn’t stop these 4 men, though. They are taking extreme measures to bring their friend for a healing. They pay no mind to those below them yelling, getting dirtier and madder. They keep ripping apart the roof, making the hole larger and larger until it’s big enough to drop their friend on the stretcher through it, right down in front of the dirt covered Jesus.