Today’s Monday School is about friends and faith and the extraordinary things that can happen when those come together.
The story is told in three of the Gospels….Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In my opinion, the one in Luke is the better story. It’s a familiar story to some of us, but when I read it Saturday morning it meant something to me it’s never meant before.
I won’t type out the story but it’s found in Luke 5:17-26. It begins with “on one of those days” and ends with “we have seen extraordinary things today.” A lot happens between those two phrases with the religious people and Jesus’ authority, but I want to focus on the man and his friends.
The man couldn’t walk and he had friends. Good friends. The kind that lived like it matters and helped their friend be well. They carried the man on his mat through the streets to the home where a crowd gathered to hear Jesus teach. The doorway was blocked because of the crowd, so the men carried their friend up to the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus.
“And when Jesus saw their faith…..”
Jesus didn’t ask a question and the men didn’t speak to Jesus. Jesus saw their faith. The faith that wavered when the crowd was too thick to get their friend in through the door. The faith that grew weary of the long haul through the streets and the one up to the roof. The faith that thought the whole thing was crazy and wondered if it was even worth it. The faith that wanted to give up.
But faith is stronger with friends. When this friend’s faith wavered, that friend’s didn’t. When three of them wanted to turn around and wait until the crowd was gone, the other one was determined. When two of them thought they were too exhausted to go on, the other two cheered them on. When one of them wanted to give up on it all, the other ones patiently reminded him of their paralyzed friend’s need. And let’s not forget about the faith of the man on the mat. It took a lot of guts and even more trust to let his friends carry him around on his mat, then lower him through a roof.
And every step was worth it when Jesus spoke to the man. First, Jesus met the man’s deepest soul need and forgave his sins. Then he took care of his physical need and made him walk again.
Jesus saw their faith. Certainly not perfect faith, maybe not great faith, but a stronger faith because they were together. The faith that made them do the hard work of helping their friend. The faith to keep going, one hard step after another.
The people were filled with awe and said, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”