As with every Shabat, friends were enjoying the shade under a lemon tree, talking about the latest news from their village, Capernaum. A fourth friend arrived with news of the arrival of a “prophet” who healed the sick.
The informer explained that the crowd was moving toward a wealthy merchant’s home. The youngest in the team, quiet until then, had an idea: “Shall we bring him our lame friend?” They met regularly at his home to read the Torah and wondered, “Could he be healed, too?” But there were a few questions to discuss first.
They had to know where to find Jesus and have the consent of their friend. They also had to be:
- In agreement to do it together
- Creative to find a way to bring him there and imagine alternate plans
- Ready to ask for help
- Courageous to uncover the roof
- Responsible for their friend
- Loving to do so much to help their friend
They had often read Isaiah 58 and knew that God asks His people to care for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed. If this was the Messiah, they had to jump into action now! We know the story. Jesus saw the four friends’ faith.
Many of the acts of Jesus were never recorded, but this event is found in three of the four Gospels. The friends were praised for not just sitting in the comfort of their homes but for getting up, reaching out, and daring to challenge the impossible situation.
The end of the story? The lame friend goes home praising God, and all were amazed, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Our determination to join forces with one mind and one resolve to care for the poor and the oppressed will create around us a loud concert of praise to God. Many will marvel at the incredible things He will do through us as determined friends of the poor!
“Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” — Mark 2:4–5, NIV
Prayer: Lord, please help us understand the precious calling You have given to Your church to worship in words and in deeds. Help us reach out to the poor and the needy so that the world may see that You are truly a loving and gracious God. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Bretscher is the Executive Director of Compassion Italy.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.