A retelling of the story found in Mark 2:1-12, Mat. 9:1-8 and Luke 5:18-26
“We have to take him to Jesus.”
The other three men stare at their friend with confusion in their eyes.
“Jesus?” They ask.
On the floor, groaning, lies a paralyzed man. A childhood friend. A brother.
“Yes, Jesus. I have heard that He is back in Capernaum again. In Peter’s house. In every town that He has been to, He has healed many people. They say He is Messiah. He will heal our friend as well.”
“Peter’s house is on the other side of town. How do you suppose we get him there? We don’t have a wagon!”
“We will carry him there on his bed.”
The walk to Peter’s house are challenging. It is scorching and the paralyzed man seems to gain a few pounds with every ten meters. In their haste, they forgot to bring water. Resting along the way, is not an option. His groans have turned to whining and begging. Years of being bedridden have taken its toll on his body. This trip might even kill him.
After three hours they reach Peter’s humble little house near the water’s edge. A great crowd of people have gathered around the house, peering through the windows and pushing to get through the narrow doorway.
“Excuse me. Please. We need to get inside!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no space inside! Why do you think we are on the outside?”
The four friends drop the bed carefully onto the stone pathway and collapse in agony next to it.
“We have come all this way for nothing!”
“Must we turn around now?”
“No, on our way home he will surely die!”
“How do we know if Jesus will even heal him?”
“He will. I have heard Him speak. He is Messiah.”
Just then a roar of praise explodes from inside the house. The crowd that’s been gathering outside of the doorway, quickly make way for a filthy beggar, leaping and dancing out of the house while crying in a high pitched voice: “See! I can see!”
The four friends watch in amazement. They’ve known this blind beggar all their lives! Now he is running around telling everybody how Jesus has just healed him.
“You are right. He is the promised one of God. We should wait here until the crowd subsides and for Jesus to come out of the house. Then we will call to Him. He will heal our friend.”
“No, we can’t wait that long! The whole of Capernaum seems to be here. We have to get him to Jesus, now!”
“How? It is impossible to get through that crowd!”
“There is one way…”
Carrying a paralyzed man on a mat, up the steep stairs to Peter’s rooftop, is indeed not an easy task! But the four men are only aware of the muffled sobs escaping from their dear friend’s lips. With hearts pounding in their throats they pray out loud that he survives this ordeal.
They finally reach the top, only to find that Peter did a great job building his house! The clay and straw layer that covers the branches and beams are double the thickness any other man would lay it. While three of them fervently dig through it with tools they’ve quickly borrowed from the carpenter around the corner, the fourth man uses his fisherman’s skills to securely tie a rope at each of the four corners of the mat. Peter won’t mind them borrowing the rope to save a man’s live.
Finally they manage to break through the branches in-between two beams. Not at all moved by the astonished cries and Peter’s upset threats coming from inside the house, they start lowering their friend’s bed down carefully, with the last bit of strength left in their aching arms.
Jesus moves toward the opening in the crowd that has made way for the descending man. He looks up. Catching each man’s eyes. They can see that He knows. About the walk here. How disheartened they were when they couldn’t enter the house. The prayers for his life. Every word. Every thought. Then He turns His face toward the paralyzed man who has been carefully lowered onto the floor right in front of Him.
“Friend,” He says with a smile, “your sins are forgiven.”
With these words all four of them drop the ropes they were still clinging to and stare at each other with big eyes. Only God can forgive sins!
The scribes start mumbling under their breath about this profound statement, but Jesus looks straight at them and says: “What do you think is the easiest thing to do? To forgive sins or to say to this man ‘get up, take your mat and go home’? I will show you that I can do both.”
Then He turns his attention to the paralyzed man again: “Get up, take your bed, and go home!”
A heavy silence has filled the room. The paralyzed man stirs and looks at Jesus with a question in his eyes. Jesus nods with a smile: “Yes, get up.”
Then, without any hesitation, he gets up.
Yet again an exclamation of praise arises from the house as the once paralyzed man rolls his mat up and leaps out of the house singing and laughing with joy. Jesus looks up at the four men peering through the hole in the roof with tears rolling down their cheeks. But before they can utter a word of thanks they see it in His eyes: “Thank you. For loving. For believing.”
Who do you know that still needs to get to Jesus? How much effort will you put in to get them there?
He’s counting on your love and your faith (Mat. 28:19).
Don’t delay any longer.