© 2004 by Jerry L. Croasmun
Read -- Mark 2:1-12 and
"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."
Jesus was preaching inside a house in Capernaum when four men carried their paralyzed friend to see Him. The men could not get inside the house so they razed or tore off the roof and then lowered the paralytic and his bed into the house. The four were determined to take their friend to Jesus and no physical barrier, not even a roof, was going to stop them. See Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; and Luke 5:17-26 to read this fascinating account.
"Gary's Roofing Company," was open for six days in August 1998, when my brother Gary and I razed and re-roofed my house. Pieces of my roof littered my neighbors' yards after a major windstorm. The remaining shingles and tar paper had to be removed; stripping the roof down to the bare plywood. I doubt the roofs in Capernaum were made of asphalt shingles; however, removing a roof is a noisy, dirty job that involves lots of hard work. I am sure the paralytic's friends not only razed, but also "raised the roof" in Capernaum.
The Bible does not tell us the size of the hole or how long it took the four to dig through the roof. I believe it was not a quick or easy task for in Mark 2:4 we are told, "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." The four men had faith and knew Jesus could heal their paralyzed friend. Yet, I doubt they knew they would encounter the living and Holy One of God when they started their journey.
The paralytic was forgiven of his sins and received a physical healing as a result of the faith of his friends. In Mark 2:5 we read, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" In Luke 5:20 we read, "When Jesus saw their faith, He said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'" And in Matthew 9:2 we read, "Some men brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.'"
The religious leaders knew Jesus was making a bold statement claiming to be God. In verse 7 they asked some rather rhetorical questions, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus further revealed his deity when He told the crowd the real reason He healed the paralytic. In verse 10 we read, "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins."
The four men brought the paralytic to Jesus and his sins were forgiven. Likewise, we can also bring or introduce others to Christ. No one ever said witnessing or sharing the good news of the gospel would be an easy task. Some physical work might be required and we might even have to get our hands a little dirty. At the very least a sacrifice of our time will be required. Friends only become such with time. Are we willing to carry a friend for awhile and do whatever it takes to bring him or her to Jesus? In Galatians 6:2 we are called to, "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
Jesus was a friend of sinners and went to their houses and had dinner with them. The house in Capernaum was full, yet the four men found a way by razing the roof to bring their friend to Jesus. Are our churches today more like social clubs than houses of worship? Are they crowded with man-made rules and regulations? Have we made it undesirable and nearly impossible for others to come to Jesus?
If so, may we begin to raze and remove the roofs on our religious hearts and buildings. May we get back to seeking out the only One who can heal and forgive us of our sins. And may we say and believe, as Peter in John 6:68-69, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."