Ever have a moment where you read something a hundred times but then one day you reread it and have a light bulb moment? That happened to me recently.
I was reading Mark 2:1-12 and I had this whole new perspective on it. I have read this passage so many times in my life and I have never had this “gut check” moment like I did the other day.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people in a house. I have heard sermons focused on verses 5-12 and while this is such a great part in this passage because Jesus not only heals the lame man but forgives him as well, something else grabbed my attention this time around.
In verse 2 it says that there were so many people there to hear Him that the door was blocked. People were so crammed into this space, so eager to hear the Son of God that the door was completely inaccessible. In the next verse (v 3) we see that one man in particular was being brought in by his friends to see Jesus for healing. However, being that EVERYONE and their mother seemed to be there they had to resort to cutting a hole in the roof to even get to Jesus.
I find it interesting that FRIENDS were responsible for taking this man to Jesus. Not family, not the pastor, but friends.
As friends we should always be encouraging, helping, serving, and praying for one another. That’s what we are as the Church, right? This group of friends was so determined to help their buddy that they cut a hole in someone’s roof to get to Jesus. They cut a hole in some guy’s roof y’all. I mean THAT is dedication. When was the last time you fought for a friend like that? When was the last time you did everything in your power to help a friend though hard times or to encourage a friend when they seemed hopeless? That’s what friends do. Or SHOULD do!
I also find it interesting that with all the people there, no one stopped to help this man and his friends. How full could this place have been that no one saw these friends trying to get in the door to see Jesus. And if they did see them they surely didn’t care enough to move out of the way so this man could visit with Jesus. His friends had to resort to going through the roof.
Imagine you’re at a concert. There are so many people all crammed together that you can’t move. Now imagine someone coming up from behind you trying to squeeze past you and your friends. What do you do? Most times people don’t let them through right? You think, “Oh heck no! I want to be as close as possible! I’ve been waiting too!”
That’s essentially what happened here. The other people listening to Jesus were so eager to hear Him and get their own healing and blessing that they did NOTHING to help this lame man get to Jesus. They were only focused on themselves.
Sometimes we are like this paralytic’s friends: we do everything we can to help those we love and care about. We intercede for our church community and church family.
But other times, and usually more often than not, we are like the others at this house. We are so focused on US. WE want to see Christ, WE want to hear what He has to say, WE need Him too! We are so bent on getting what we need from Him that we totally miss those hurting around us.
We miss that lonely girl who is struggling with depression, or that guy who might have just lost a loved one. We are so focused on ourselves that we sometimes block the doorway for others to receive what they might need. We are hindering others. And we are missing the whole point.
The point is to be like Christ. To share the burdens of our faith community. To carry the weight of those around us to help lighten their load. To cut a hole in someone’s ceiling to help our friends get the healing they need.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t pray for ourselves. It doesn’t mean we come last all the time or that we have to forget our needs altogether. It means that as Christians, as a community of believers, as the Church, we need to open our eyes and look around. BE there. Stop thinking of only yourself when you pray and pray for the brothers and sisters around you.
This little passage shook me. It woke me up to the fact that lately I’ve been a pretty crappy friend. I have been surrounded by my own problems and so focused on my own life that I haven’t taken the time to love on my friends. I haven’t even asked if there is anything I can pray with them about. How can they ask for prayer when I have shown no interest in their lives lately?
Let this passage encourage you as it did me. Don’t just be present in your friend’s lives. Be active, be praying, be fighting for them. Be the friend that they lean on when they can’t stand on their own. Reach out and be an active prayer partner for those around you! Do what needs to be done to keep them encouraged.
Sometimes that might mean just sitting with them while they hurt (Job 2:11-13), sometimes it might mean crying out to God on their behalf (Nehemiah 1), and other times it might mean cutting a hole in a roof to get them to Jesus.
Be sure you’re the friend lifting them up and not the person blocking the doorway.