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Lenten Devotion for February 17, 2024 Friends bring friends to Jesus

[Read Mark 2:1-12]

“…four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven….”

This is story focuses on the faith of four men who loved a paralyzed friend. And having heard that Jesus had returned to Capernaum, the four took their friend to the house where Jesus was staying. But the news of Jesus return had spread like wildfire through the region and the house was packed. All seemed lost! But their quest was not abandoned.

Because they loved their friend and believed in Jesus, they took bold action. They climbed to the roof of the house, dug a hole through the ceiling, and lowered their friend right in front of Jesus. Jesus sees the confident faith of the men. But what happens next—read in its plainest sense—is theologically offensive to some: Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” For many, the faith of the paralytic is the only thing that matters. Yet, Mark speaks to the faith of the four. And not just Mark, Matthew also tells the story with the focus on the faith of the four.

What does the faith of the four have to do with anything? The paralytic is unable to go to Jesus’ house on his own. And when the way to Jesus seemed impossible, his friends found a way. Filled with faith, they boldly acted out of love. They could not heal him of his infirmities much less forgive his sins, but they were unrelenting in bringing him to the Great Physician. And Jesus forgave his sins and healed his body as well.

Friends still bring friends to Jesus. Love compels us. If we love someone, we will not rest until they too are “right down in front of Jesus.” We too will act with a boldness that others may disparage. Our faith brings them to the Master’s feet. Our faith is confident in Christ Jesus who both forgives and heals. Sloth is a deadly sin whereas love acts persistently and boldly.


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