After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, " Son, I forgive your sins."
I was reminded of this story this morning by a friend that is really struggling. She is someone that helped change my life for the better, someone that lifted me through the roof to Jesus, just like these four friends did for the paraplegic. It takes a strong and faithful friend to lift another friend towards Jesus, and then let them go on their own two feet, she did that.
Several years ago we would catch an episode of Friends, has anyone seen that? It still runs on Netflix. I liked it because they were all such faithful friends. Three guys and three girls that loved each other no matter what. They felt free to say what needed to be said, free to be themselves, but still knew they were loved. How many of us have friends like that?
I thiink the paraplegic did. He couldn't walk. He couldn't get to Jesus, but his friends found a way to get him there. The crowd made it look impossible, but they were creative and hard working. They worked together and were willing to destroy someone's roof for the benefit of their friend. They had so much belief in the healing power of Jesus, they probably just thought that Jesus would heal the roof too! And, then, when they lowered their friend down and witnessed the miracle of healing, what do you think they did? Did they call him to come back up to the roof and be with them? Did they encourage him to go off and explore his new ability to walk? Did they rejoice? Did they thank Jesus?
What about the guy that was healed? He had an entire new world opened up to him. Was he grateful to his friends? It was the faithfulness of his friends that led him to Jesus, right? Just like the friends in the episode, always hanging around with each other, walking through the processes of life. Even when it was dumb silly stuff, they were just there for each other. But, at the end of the series, they "grew up" they moved on and went their seperate ways. Still in touch, still loving each other, still faithful, but different.
I think one of the greatest gifts on earth is to have faithful friends. To know that there are people we can always count on to lower us through the roof and to encourage us to use our legs. Friends that rejoice with us, check in on us, always come back to us, and listen. Spirit to spirit, deep spirited, faithful friends.