A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 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. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2.1-5
I always love the fact that it was the faith of the friends of the paralyzed man that enabled Jesus to heal him. It wasn’t the faith of the paralyzed man. It was not his actions that brought him before Jesus but the actions of others. However, and we will read this in the verses that follow — it was the response of the paralyzed man who took up his mat and walked which affirmed the work of God in his life.
I just heard a testimony from a young man talking about his own encounter with God. He said that in his own life he had to give God permission to intervene. It’s not that God isn’t seeking us out — he certainly is — and his grace is pursuing us, but unless we give God permission we will not experience his fullness, power and grace. We might sense his Spirit from time to time but until we give him “permission to intervene in earths affairs” (I am quoting this young man) then we will not experience his full salvation and presence in our lives.
When the friends brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus, they did so in faith, knowing that he could bring healing. They brought the friend on a mat lowered through a roof that had to be torn away. When the paralyzed man was finally lowered and brought to the feet of Jesus, Jesus saw the faith and the need of the man on the mat and brought all the power of God to bear.
That same power, that same God, that same love is being demonstrated each and every day as he reaches out to us and as we in turn turn back to God. Although opposition comes our way in various forms (physical, spiritual, mental) the Lord in his power can always win the day.
This is at least the twelfth year that I have led a group of men to the Revive Rocky Mountain Mens Retreat in Colorado at Estes Park. This year we have a record high forty three men who are taking moments of sabbath during the week. Without a particular schedule, guys go do different activities together, and it’s there, upon the trail or in the outdoors that Jesus comes and walks among us. Like Jesus on the Emmaus Road, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?,” Luke 24.32.
My points is this — God is among us. He was among the friends lowering the paralyzed man on the mat and he is among these men on the retreat. All it takes is for us to give God permission to intervene.
Will you do that today? Then wait and see what He will do.
“O Lord God, I give you permission to have your way with my life. To guide my steps, to test my faith, to strengthen me so that I might be useful to you and your Kingdom. Come now Holy Spirit – live within and allow my heart to sing your praise. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen