Open the Roof

Mark 2:1-12

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

When I was a child, I had this awesome ability to teleport. If I fell asleep on the couch or in the car, I would magically appear back in my bed sometime throughout the night. It was incredible. In truth, I was being carried by my dad back to my bed, but it’s fun to think about it being teleportation. One disappointing truth is that there was a time that my dad put me down from carrying me and never picked me back up. And while that’s depressing, now that I’m 25 it would be odd if he picked me up. To a certain degree, it would be a bit humiliating.

As we look to this passage, it makes me think about that. Having to be carried as an adult, especially because you’re unable, would have to be a difficult experience to deal with. It’s not often that we are carried around but being unable to walk as this man was it would be something that is necessary in certain situations. The text doesn’t outline whether or not these men regularly carried the paralytic around. But picture the situation here: there’s a paralytic here that likely sits around as a beggar (what else is he going to do?), and people are walking by him every day. When he learned that Jesus was here, he must have thought “Now’s my chance!” But he couldn’t walk there, so this man had to ask people to carry him. Maybe these people have walked by all the time and know him. Maybe they’re his friends.

The paralytic man had to humble himself more than he already was to ask for help. We as people have such a hard time asking for help, don’t we? I know that I always like to do everything myself. I have a hard time asking for anyone to help me do something and I believe that’s common to a lot of people. Especially when it comes to something, we’re ashamed of like our sin. When we’re caught in depression or anxiety or sin, the best thing for us to do is to ask for help. But that’s the hardest thing to do. When we’re stuck in these situations, we need to be like this man and be willing to humble ourselves and ask for help.

Reflect

  1. The paralytic was held back by his disability, and that forced him to ask for help. What is holding you back? What is it that causes you to need to ask for help?
  2. Who can you ask for help when you need it?

Pray

God, Thank you for the story of this man and his hardships. Thank you for giving us an example of someone that was willing to humble themselves to get the help that they needed. God please give us the humility and wisdom to know when to ask for help, even when we don’t want to. Bless our church and keep us safe this week God, Amen.

Philip Wines, July 21, 2020
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