Summary: A payalyzed man discovered real love in his four friends who let him down through a roof to be healed by Jesus.
Finding Love on the Roof
February 19, 2006
CareerBuilder.com recently listed some excuses used by employees when they called into work for a sick day. Some of the more interesting ones were:
• I was sprayed by a skunk
• I tripped over my dog and was knocked unconscious
• My bus broke down and was held up by robbers
• I was arrested as a result of a mistaken identity
• I forgot to come back to work after lunch
• I couldn’t find my shoes
• I hurt myself bowling
• My curlers burned my hair and I had to go to the hairdresser
• My cat unplugged my alarm clock
• A hitman was looking for me
• I had to be there for my husband’s grand jury trial
• I totaled my wife’s jeep in a collision with a cow
The gospel lesson for this morning is about a fellow who didn’t need to make excuses. He really did have a problem He was paralyzed. We don’t know why. Perhaps because of an accident. Perhaps because of illness. Perhaps because of a congenital condition. The cause isn’t really what is important. He was a man who was not physically whole and was in need of healing.
According to Mark’s gospel, it is very early in the ministry of Jesus. Not too long before this day, he had been baptized by John the Baptist and had spent some time in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. He had called his first four disciples there along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, cleansed a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law and a whole bunch of other folks in that city. After that, he went on a preaching tour of the towns and villages around Galilee, casting out demons and healing a leper.
So his reputation was beginning to spread. People were hearing about him. He was beginning to get famous. The gossip mills were churning. People were starting to believe that he might be on to something.
And so we come to the story for today – the healing of the paralyzed man. I wonder if we could see this story from the perspective of this paralyzed guy for a minute. He had these four friends – I don’t know if they were relatives or not – but there were four of them. Somebody decided that he needed to see Jesus.
These four friends decided that it was time to put Jesus to the test, to see if he was what he was cracked up to be, to determine if he really did have the kind of power people said he had. To be fair, I am assuming that these four men really did believe in his power. Later on in his ministry, Jesus would have to contend with religious leaders and others who would test him to try to build a criminal case against him. That is not what was going on here. These four fellows, I am sure, believed and had enough faith, that they expected Jesus to be able to bring God’s healing power to bear on their friend.
Can you imagine what this paralyzed guy was feeling? His friends told him that they were going to take him to see this Rabbi named Jesus. OK, that’s fine. But then they got there and discovered this huge crowd. Next came the roof. “Excuse me,” he must have said. “You’re taking me up on the roof? You’re carrying me on this pallet up this rickety old ladder without an airbag, seatbelt, or net of any kind? Why don’t we just wait for the crowd to clear out a little bit.”
And then they finally got him up there. Can you imagine what he was saying then? “Wait a minute. You’re going to dig a hole in the roof and drop me down through it. Are you nuts? Let me check with my other friends, my SMART friends.” If this took place in contemporary America, you can see a whole host of law suits just waiting to happen.
You have to hand it to this guy. Though there were all sorts of potential problems, he loved his friends enough to allow them to help him. He got over his feelings of embarrassment and humiliation, and didn’t refuse their help. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction…” He wasn’t too proud to accept their help.
I had someone in my office not too long ago who said, “We’re all for you. Just tell us what you need us to do. Just ask. We’ll be there. We just want to know what you need.”
Refusing help when it is offered, I think, is rude to those who want to help and perhaps is an affront to God because the willingness and ability to help are spiritual gifts and not allowing someone to exercise their gift is not allowing them to do what God has equipped them to do. This moment on the roof was a sacred moment for all involved because the spiritual gifts of the friends matched the greatest need at that moment.