Mark 2:3-5; “Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, 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 and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Throughout my Christian faith journey, I have heard a lot of sermons and sat through a lot of Bible studies about the need for strong individual faith. However, only one time did I hear someone talk about the importance of communal faith. I mean, by communal faith, when two or more people pray for and believe in the imminent breakthrough of others, even when they are struggling to believe it themselves.
During this season of pandemic and economic uncertainty, members of the body of Christ are going to have to lean on one another. That leaning may be in the form of food assistance, or emotional support, or spiritual encouragement. Those who experience the death of a loved one will need consolation from their brothers and sisters. People that have lost their employment may need help from those that are thriving financially. Some people may need help in looking for employment.
In today’s text, we read about four men's determination to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus so he can be healed. The paralytic leaned on his friends to get the help he needed. He trusted them with his life and health, and they came through for him.
At times, we all need to rely on the faith of others. Indeed, we may need prayer warriors with strong faith to intercede for us amid our hardships. We may also need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to lend a helping hand during a financial or emotional crisis. A true brother or sister in Christ is born for a time of adversity (Proverbs 17:17).
The four men were so determined to get their paralytic friend to Jesus that they made the opening in the roof and lowered the mat that he was lying on in order that Jesus could heal him. Jesus commented on the faith of the four, who helped the paralytic man. It was the four men’s determination and faith that cause the paralytic man to be healed. The paralytic man was in no position to get himself to Jesus. However, his friends interceded for him and made sure that the Lord (Jesus) healed him. These men positioned their friend right in front of Jesus so that he would get his healing. Don’t you wish you had friends like these?
One more observation that I want to bring to your attention: it took four friends to carry the paralytic man on the mat. That is precisely my point about communal faith. Do not underestimate the significance of the friends and family members who believe in you and are praying for you. Do not underestimate the faith of a praying mother or a praying father. If you have a pastor, a family member, or a friend who prays for you and believe God for your deliverance, it is indeed a blessing. Many members have been blessed because of the faith and the prayer of their pastor and their fellow church members. I do not know what it is, but there is something about having two or more (community) coming together and trusting God to do something for one of their own.
As a pastor, I would like to think that all of us who are members of the body of Christ have the same level of faith. I want to think that we can all cast out demons, turn our pressures into praise, heal those who are sick and walk on water. However, the reality is that we are not all on the same level of faith. Some of us need four others to intercede for us like that paralytic man to make it through. Sometimes our faith may not be strong enough to see and take possession of the blessings God has decreed for us. However, if we have faithful friends who can encourage us and empower us through their faith and their relationship with God, we will make it.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, we intercede for the people that are in our circle of influence. May you strengthen them in their weaknesses and deliver them from their troubles, in Jesus' name!