That's What Friends Do
Introduction: On the surface, this is a story of healing. Like many such incidents in the Gospels, Jesus meets a man with a problem. Jesus applies his love and power to the point of need and a life is forever changed. In this case, Jesus heals a paralyzed man. In other cases, he makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and lifeless to live again. He healed Jews and Romans, young and old, rich and poor. Jesus still meets people at the point of their need. He still changes lives.
This story, however, contains another ingredient. We might look right past it if we are not paying attention. I suspect the same factor is present in most of Jesus' miracles. Most of the time, it isn't mentioned. I'm talking about the friendship factor. That's the lesser piece of the story I invite you to think about today.
On one side, we have the man with the need. On the other, we have Christ, the Savior and Lord, the healer of body and soul. For a miracle to happen, the two had to come together. In this case, four men step in and bring their friend to Jesus. His life would never be the same again.
We all need friends. Think about the man in the story. We don't know his name, his age, or the severity of his affliction. He was paralyzed. We don't know the cause. Was he born that way? Was he in an accident? Maybe even foul play? He could have been beaten, robbed and left for dead like the man in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps some unnamed disease had left him unable to walk. He could have been a soldier wounded in battle.
We have all known men and women in similar situations. Many are able to rise above the limitation and live healthy productive lives. However, for every such story of triumph, a hundred tales of tragedy could be told. Such a man often loses more than the use of his legs. He can lose his job, his dreams, and sometimes his friends and family.
If such a tragedy i ...
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