When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3Then some people* came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— 11‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ 12And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’
After preaching in the “deserted places” for a time, Jesus returned to Capernaum, where he had made his home, but word soon got out that he was there. And there was such a crowd around the little house that they even blocked the door, and likely the street as well. Having seen the stone walls that remain of the tiny houses there, homes with a single door and few windows, it is easy to see that they could have been blocked by the crowd.
There were four men who came, carrying the mat of a friend who was paralyzed, but they could not get to the door. Can’t you see them? looking at one another in frustration – “how can we get our friend to Jesus?” And then someone has a bright idea – we’ll go through the roof! And they get ropes and pull their friend up, carefully, so as not to drop him, and they dig at the mud and twig roof of the little house until they have a hole, just big enough to lower their friend through. And Jesus, inside, feels the mud and sticks falling down, and suddenly there is light in the little house, and a man comes down right at Jesus’ feet. And Jesus looks up and sees four grinning faces peering through the opening! And Jesus saw their faith – not the faith of the man he would heal, but the faith of friends who had enough faith to carry the man’s mat, and to dig through someone else’s roof (knowing they would have to repair it), just to get their friend to Jesus, because they just knew that Jesus could heal him!
I love this story! It is one of those we can tell over and over! Adam Hamilton calls the man’s friends “Mat Bearers”, and asks are we mat bearers for one another? Whose mat would you carry? Who would carry your mat? When have we had enough faith to dig through someone’s roof to get a friend to Jesus?
We will continue the story tomorrow~