Going to bat for a friend
1And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4And 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 bed on which the paralytic lay. 5And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10But 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, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Some people have a lot of friends, and some have only a few. The question is, how many are willing to do anything for you? The men in the story above ripped through a roof to get their friend healed by Jesus. What an effort!
First, they had to carry him over to the house Jesus was at. Then they had to get him on the roof. Next, they had to tear open a hole big enough to let this man through (I guess they never learned about respecting their neighbors’ property 😉 ). Then, they lowered him down on ropes in front of Jesus.
Their actions were a demonstration that they believed Jesus had the ability to heal their friend.
There are times in our lives when we have lost hope, confidence, or feel depressed. The best friends are the one who are able to re-orient your mind by saying something to you that addresses your need perfectly.
Maybe, they surprise you with a thought that you hadn’t considered before. It turns your perception of reality upside down. You cannot help but smile to think of it. Your load has been lightened, no, it has been taken away.
These men probably tried everything to get their friend healed. They probably talked with him and encouraged him.
But, the words he and his friends really wanted to hear were, “You are healed”.
Instead, Jesus interrupts their thinking pattern. He addresses a totally different issue. He tells this paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven”. In one phrase, Jesus declares Himself to be God, declares the man to be a son of the kingdom of God, and declares this man is forgiven and will be in heaven on the last day.
That wasn’t what anyone expected. Some were offended. Some were amazed. God’s forgiveness is the greatest healing. It is the healing of the soul. It is resurrection from the dead. It is the guarantee of eternal life with Him.
But, Jesus didn’t stop there. The minor issue was this man’s healing. And Jesus does this by command for action. The man walks away, healed. Twice.
We need continual forgiveness for sin. One of the sweetest things we can hear is the pastor declaring, “I, as a called and ordained servant of Christ, forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”
How can Jesus forgive sins? How is this possible?
Jesus did more than go to bat for us. Jesus went to another piece of wood and was crucified on it for us. Jesus gave His own life to declare to you now, “Son, Daughter, your sins are forgiven”
In His name, Amen.