Just think for a moment about what lengths would you go to, to help a loved one get the care and attention they mite need. There are times in our lives where we need loved ones there to get us thru our trials and pains, isn’t there because we feel we can’t do it by ourselves. I get people walking into church every Sunday morning or people knocking on my door or ringing me up with specific needs every week. And Jesus not only meets those needs of ours, but he sympathises with them and shows immense mercy and grace when meeting our needs.
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 9, verses 1 to 8, Jesus encounters such a group of men who would stop at nothing to get their paralysed friend before Jesus to be healed. And it reminded me of a show on SBS a month ago called ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ where a group of people from Australia were put in the shoes of a refugee trying to escape their atrocities within their own country. It was a show which made you think about the plight of immigrants entering this country. And one of the main questions raised to not only the participants involved but also to every viewer who watched it was, “What would it take to put your family on a boat and try to give them a chance at freedom and a new start?” Think about it – What would it take? Seriously! Would you risk the life of your husband or wife, your young children to put them in a situation where you wouldn’t know the outcome. Where you know there’s a strong possibility that you’ll never hear from them again or never see them again. What would it take to put you in that situation? To make you do something extreme to try and give freedom to those you love?
Well, we see it here in this story in Matthew’s Gospel. The friends of this paralysed man showed great faith, faith in overcoming obstacles. An extreme faith that led them to go to drastic measures to get their paralysed mate before the Son of God. They made it all the way to where Jesus was and they weren’t about to turn around and go home just because there were people pouring out the doors and windows. This guy was just too heavy to carry back maybe?
They knew ruining someone elses roof was going to be worth it to get their friend healed. They were overcoming their obstacles thru faith and knowing Jesus was indeed able to heal their friend. The passage says that Jesus saw their faith. Jesus could see what their hearts were like. Jesus knew the obstacles they overcame and the desperation they displayed in getting this paralysed man before him. Jesus saw it all. It was a faith that said, Jesus, I know that you’re able to heal this man, you’re able to show people you are indeed the son of God.
But they also got more than they bargained for. The most astonishing thing we see here is not just the overcoming of obstacles thru faith but the ability to forgive sins. Sure we can read this as another great miracle of Jesus. But notice what Jesus does before he even thinks of healing the man. He says to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus heals his heart first before his body. There’s an inner healing taking place in the form of forgiveness before any outward healing can take place. Jesus knows how salvation is achieved. Jesus knew what the price for forgiveness was going to cost. It was going to cost him his life. He was on a mission to bring forgiveness for the whole word, not just one man. He was here to carry out forgiveness on a global scale.
The power of the gospel isn’t just to heal but its to transform hearts and souls. Do you believe the gospel has this power? Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is? Again let me ask you – What would it take to help a friend or family member in need? Don’t let the obstacles get in the way of your salvation. The price has been paid for the forgiveness of sin. We just need to start digging holes thru roofs rather than sitting around being skeptics. We have to let our faith be shown thru action rather than disbelieving everything we hear or read about. Let Jesus be everything in our lives, because of his power, his authority, his mercy and love. Let our need for helping others be shown in a way that shows Jesus we’re desperate to turn to him for forgiveness, mercy and grace.