Summary: A sermon for the 7th Sunday after Epiphany Lower a man through the roof for Jesus to heal
7th Sunday after the Epiphany
"Four Good Friends"
2:1 ¶ And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.
3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,
7 "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ’Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ’Rise, take up your pallet and walk’?
10 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the paralytic--
11 "I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home."
12 And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
“What is your favorite Bible story, papa?” the little girl asked her father as he tucked her under the sheets.
“Let me see,” he said as he sat on the edge of the bed. “There are so many that I love. The story we read tonight at supper of the four men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus, lowering him through the roof, is one of my favorites because it reminds me so much of how your uncle Hans was healed.”
“I don’t know that story,” the little girl said hopefully. “Please tell it to me, papa.”
“Many years ago,” the father began, “Hans and his wife, Enid, escaped the war in Europe so that he could continue his life of teaching in the seminary. At first things were difficult because his English was not good, but soon he became one of our seminary’s most beloved teachers. The students loved him because he was warm and gentle and when he spoke the Scriptures came alive.
“Hans and Enid were very much in love. Nearly every day they took long walks together, holding hands. It warmed the hearts of students and faculty alike to see them sitting close to each other in church.
“Then one day Enid died. Hans was struck with sorrow. For weeks he would not eat or take walks. The seminary president, along with three other friends, visited him regularly, but he felt lonely and depressed. He was experiencing the dark night of the soul.
“On one of their visits, Hans said to his friends, ‘I am no longer able to pray to God. In fact, I am not certain I believe in God.’
“After a moment of silence, the seminary president said, ‘Then we will believe for you. We will make your confession for you. We will pray for you.’
“The other friends looked bewildered by their president’s words, but not knowing what else to say, they agreed.
“In the days ahead the four men met daily for prayer. They made confession on behalf of Uncle Hans. They asked God to restore the gift of faith to their dear friend and they continued to visit him in his home.
“Then, after many months, the four men all gathered in Hans’s living room. He smiled before he spoke. ‘It is no longer necessary for you to pray for me. Today, I would like you to pray with me.’
“The dark night of the soul had passed.”
There was a long silence before the little girl spoke. “Uncle Hans was just like the sick man in the story, wasn’t he, papa? Only instead of a pallet to carry him to Jesus, his friends used prayer.”
The father nodded and kissed his daughter. 1
Four good men helped their friend over the loss of his wife. Four good men, prayed, confessed, offered up to God the heartache of their friend. Four good men prayed and stood by their friend till the peace and grace of God would be in their friend’s heart again. they stood by their friend till he could say, ‘It is no longer necessary for you to pray for me. Today, I would like you to pray with me.’