The Friends of the Paralytic in Luke 5:17-26 – The Kind of Friend We Need to Be

Posted: December 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

Luke 5:17-26 — There are so many things in this passage that we can use in our Christian walk. We can spend a few devotional days here. Let’s do this by looking at the characters in this passage. There were the friends of the paralyzed man. There was the paralyzed man himself. There were the Pharisees and the scribes. There was Jesus. Today, let’s take a look at the paralyzed man’s friends.

Although Luke does not mention the number of friends, we do know from Mark 2:3 that there were four of them (this same event is recorded in Mark 2:1-12 and Matthew 9:1-8). The thing that is striking about these four men are several. First, they were real friends to the paralyzed man. Second, they believed that Jesus could heal their friend. Finally, they took action on their faith. I want to be that kind of friend and have that kind of friends.

Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid, we did not stay at one place very long. Before we moved to Travelers Rest, SC in the mid-70’s, the longest I had lived anywhere was 2 years. In these formative years, therefore, I learned to be self-contained. We never got to stay anywhere long enough to make deep friendships with other kids. I am good at making acquaintances, but not always good at developing meaningful relationships that last. I have tons of acquaintances but very few real friends. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. Maybe I am just beating myself up. However, I think to a certain extent it is true that I don’t allow myself to make close friends. This situation continues to haunt me to this day. It is difficult for people to get real close to me. Self-contained. However, there have been a few folks that have gotten past the acquaintance stage with me over the years. That is the thing that is striking here about these four guys. They were real friends to this paralyzed man. Either this man was paralyzed from birth or something happened in his life to make him paralyzed. On this point, Scripture is not clear. It does not have to be though. The point here is that these were real friends, not just surface friends. They were so concerned with their friend that they were willing to carry him possibly a great distance to see Jesus. That’s the kind of friends I want. I have one or two friends like that. These are the friends that if you were stranded on the side of the road 100s of miles away that would come and get you. These are the kind of friends that will not abandon you when you are down and out. They will not abandon you when you become paralyzed. These are the friends that will do anything for you. They may not always want to help but they see the friendship that you have as more important as any temporary discomfort the friendship may cause. These are the friends that will literally fight others with you even when they know you are dead wrong. These are your true friends. This paralyzed man had this kind of friends. In that, he was already a blessed man. Look at the effort of these friends for their friend. Carrying a man, digging through the roof, lowering him into the presence of Jesus. This is the kind of friend I want. This the kind of friend that I want to be.

The second thing that you notice about these friends is that they believed that Jesus could heal their friend. They had faith in Jesus. They had heard of the healings that Jesus had already done. The news about this new healing minister was spreading like wildfire around the region. They must have had discussions about this. Do you believe it was the question that rang out among these four guys as they were hanging out together. It took faith to believe that some man that you don’t know could heal your friend. The common perception of the day was that sin caused physical infirmities. If you were paralyzed, either you had committed some sin to cause it or your forefathers’ sins caused it. These guys had such a friendship with this guy that they didn’t want to accept that kind of mindset. They wanted to change this man’s situation. They had to believe that Jesus could do the job. It’s not just anybody that you would carry your friend a great distance if you did not believe that they could heal them. They had faith that Jesus could do the job. Do you have this kind of faith that you would carry your dead weight to Jesus? You have to have faith that He will heal your spiritual paralysis. Do you believe in Jesus that much? Do you really believe that He will heal you? Do you really believe that He is more than just a great philosopher? Do you really believe that Jesus is more than just a radical rabbi? Do you have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, your Savior, the Giver of Eternal Life? Do you have that much faith in Him? These guys did and so do I. Jesus is the man to me. He is my Savior. I have that much faith in Him.

OK, so it’s one thing to be a good friend. It’s another to have faith. It is a whole nother thing to be a friend with faith who takes action on their faith. That’s what these friends did. They took action on their faith. They believed that Jesus could heal so they took their friend all the way to the house where Jesus was teaching. So intent they were that when they encountered the obstacle of the full house of people, they cut a whole in the roof and lowered their friend through the roof. They were so intent, so concerned that they did something. It was in the book of James that it tells us that we must be doers of the Word not just readers of it. Sometimes we make faith a mental exercise. We read our Bibles and say to ourselves that is a good idea when we get the message of a passage. We read James and say yes we should be doers of the Word. Yet, we have to beg for volunteers at most churches. Soup kitchens beg for donations and for people to help feed. We sit in church on Sunday and maybe on occasion when we have special events at church we will participate and feel good about ourselves. I am victim to this mentality just as much as anyone else. Are we willing to make real sacrifices to help those around us that need helping? Being a Christian is more than just participating in the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway once a year. Don’t get me wrong, our Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway is one of the most awesome things we do as a church. Never do I walk away from it not just touched deeply in my heart. It is awesome. But that can’t be the end of it. We must live our lives like the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway on a daily basis. We must have the urgency. We must see needs and meet them. We must be willing to carry our friends great distances. We must be willing to have our eyes open daily. We must be willing to sacrifice daily to make sure that those around us have their needs met. We must be willing to make the sacrifices to show the world around us what Jesus looks like through the loving sacrifices we make. We must live with a Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway mentality on a daily basis. We must be willing to take action on our faith daily. We must be friends of the paralyzed man. Take action on your faith. Just don’t let it be a mental exercise, a box you pull out, play with and put back on the shelf.

Lord, help us to be doers of the Word so that we will not deceive ourselves. Help us to understand this passage and be friends who have faith and friends who care enough to love those around us and do anything to have their needs met. Give us this kind of faith desperation. Amen.

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