A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
The difference between life and death was an unknown. The doctors were sure that he was sick, but without a diagnosis, they could not determine how to treat him. They referred him for further testing not available at their facility, but that posed a problem. This testing could be done only several states away, and his insurance would not cover travel or experimental treatment. Had he been a man alone in life, this could have been a tragedy. However, his was a life full of support and community. Those who loved him banded around him to do whatever they needed to get him well. Just a little given by this one and by that one turned into more than enough to get him his healing.
This passage is an illustration of faith, and that is clear. It is the faith of this man and his friends that moved Christ to heal him, but there is more to this story. The sick man did not have what it took to make his way to Christ. His friends had to help him get there. It was not the faith of one man but the faith of all of them that drove them to such an extreme act. His physical paralysis created a real obstacle in his pursuit of healing, and many people experience that same thing spiritually. They think of approaching Christ, and they might have a desire to do so, but they just cannot make their own way. They cannot take those steps but need someone to help carry them to him.
The beginning of my salvation story is marked with hesitation and second guesses. I felt like I should be taking steps toward the Lord, but I just could not do it on my own. Luckily, I had other believers in my life who not only stood by me but helped carry me to Christ. When I could not move my feet, they put me on their shoulders and took me to him. We will have the chance to do that, and every little effort helps. Alone or in concert with the brethren, we must take advantage of every opportunity to carry others to Christ. Father, give us the faith and compassion to act as these men and bring the spiritually paralyzed to the throne of grace.