Luke 5:17 – 21, 24 – 26 One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
This man must have been a pretty special guy. After all, just look at how committed his friends were. They were determined to help him. In my opinion, this paralyzed man must have spent his life being a loyal friend. Now, in his time of need, he had many friends who were loyal to him.
We don’t really know much about this man, except that he was paralyzed, and that he had friends who were willing to go above and beyond the norm in order to help him. Because of the relationships he had built at a previous time in his life, he was blessed.
I tend to be a bit of a hermit crab, myself. I like being alone, and sometimes I can build a shell around my heart. Oh, I smile and act friendly. But I don’t always take the time required to really build those deep, long-lasting relationships. Because of that, I’ve sometimes felt lonely and abandoned during difficult times.
But take another look at the passage above. It says, “When Jesus saw their faith . . .” Wow. It wasn’t the faith of the paralytic that caught Jesus’ attention. It was the faith of his friends. Because this man had built deep, loyal friendships, he was blessed. Perhaps he was sad and depressed. Perhaps his faith had faltered. But when he was weak and helpless, the faith of his friends held him up. The faith of his friends brought a blessing on him, and he was healed.
Friends, I cannot stress to you enough how important it is for us to surround ourselves with people of faith. When our friends are going through difficult times, we must step forward and hold them up with our faith, our love, our prayers. We need to nurture and develop our relationships in the good times. And then . . . then, when our own health fails, when our own faith falters, we will not perish. We will be blessed, because the faith of our friends will hold us up.
Dear Father, Thank you for the friends who hold me up when my faith falters. Help me to be that kind of friend.