"17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
24b ...I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God." ~ Luke 5:17-20; 24b-25
One Saturday night while in the shower and preparing myself for Sunday's worship set (often my revelations come in the shower; maybe it's because I'm vulnerable there), I began to remember the story of the man who had a disease and needed healing yet he could not walk on his own, so his friends carried him on a bed to see Jesus. This story fascinates me. There are so many powerful parts to this story in only a few short verses. (That will preach right there. No matter how insignificant or small you think you are, God can use you to impact the world around you. That was free.) Now back to why I am writing in the first place. Where was I? Oh, yeah....so many powerful parts to this story.
1. THE REASON. "and the power of the Lord was present to heal them." The Pharisees and teachers of the law traveled far to see and hear this man Jesus who had a reputation of healing people. These men were intrigued. They heard about the power of God through Jesus and they knew that he had the power to heal them. Their faith was strong (or their curiosity). The power of the Lord was present to heal them, anyone, everyone. He is always there ready and willing for us to receive what we need from Him but sometimes it's not just a simple here it is. We have to follow a path to receive our rewards.
2. THE JOURNEY. "And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him." WHAT? They did what now? A couple of guys literally carried their paralyzed friend on a bed, through the streets of town, up and down hills, to a very crowded house to possibly see Jesus and receive healing. Makes you feel bad when your friend calls you for help and you are conveniently busy.
This reminds me of when my dad was paralyzed from an accident he had when I was 3. He was attending a church service and the preacher started a healing prayer line. A friend of my dad's came to him and said, "You have two options, either you go through that prayer line with me or I carry you through that prayer line. Either way you are going and you will receive your healing.". His friend, like these men in Luke, had faith that their friend would be healed. They may never have gotten to that house. They have gotten tired along their journey (not sure how long far they traveled). The crowd may have to too large. None of those circumstances changed their minds about going. They made it to the house. (And I make excuses when things seem hard and I'm tired.)
By the way, my dad went to the prayer line on his own free will and was completely healed!
3. THE PROBLEM. "And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude." Ok, so, they made it to the house. There was a huge crowd waiting on them. Once again, their circumstance could have out-weighed "The Reason" why they were on "The Journey" to this house and they could have left there hopeless and beaten. These friends were so determined to see Jesus and receive the healing for their friend, that they just wouldn't stop. "Ain't no mountain high enough...to keep me from you...." Yes, I just did that.
These men are faced with a huge crowd and no way in to see Jesus. What were they going to do? Well, climb a roof while carrying a paralyzed guy on a bed, duh. Only logical choice, right? What else could they do? (And I'm over here like I don't want to carry you to the car, you're heavy.) That's what they did though. They climbed that roof while carrying a bed with a person on it. They then removed a tile from the roof and lowered their friend to Jesus. Right in front of him. They faced "The Problem" and found their solution.
4. THE REWARD. "And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Sins are forgiven? What about healing? Don't worry. That comes later. Jesus was in the healing business yes, but what good is it to be healed without redemption? Jesus saw all their faith and what they went through to get there and he blessed them by forgiving them of their sins. Then in verses 24-25 he tells the man to get up and walk, which he did. He was healed. But more importantly he was forgiven. His chains of spiritual bondage were broken. He was walking in his blessing. Walking down his path of righteousness.
Like this story, the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8: 43-48), fought through a crowd and had enough faith to touch the bottom of Jesus' robe to receive her healing. When she did this the Bible says Jesus said her faith had made her WHOLE. Not just healed, but WHOLE. All issues were gone, not a signal sign of that disease remained.
These men had a mission. They understood "The Reason" for this mission. They left on "The Journey". They saw "The Problem". They received "The Reward".
Many of us understand "The Reason", we leave on "The Journey", we encounter "The Problem" and we go home. Why are we not receiving "The Reward"? We seem to always stop right before the finish line because we encounter a problem. Just like the runner. He is winning. He is close to the finish line. He has a leg cramp and stops. We have those spiritual cramps and we give up. It's taking too long. It's too hard. I'm tired. I have said all those things and more when going after what God has for me. I have lost valuable time on this Journey.
How do I finish without giving up?
1. ACCOUNTABILITY. Like the men in our story, we must have a group of like-minded, spiritual mentors, God-fearing friends and family to help us. Sometimes even to carry us when we feel paralyzed. Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us". 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do". Proverbs 27:17 (one of my favorites) says, "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend". My husband and a group of his friends started an accountability group called Men of Valor. One of those member told the group that he had never had a group of friends that genuinely cared about his relationship/his journey with God. See it is so important to have those people in your life that speak life into you and help you keep your eye on "The Reward".
2. DETERMINATION. My pastor says "How you see yourself at the start, is how you see yourself along the journey. How you see your journey will determine how you finish." If we go on our journey thinking we aren't gonna see the blessings of God, then we won't. A lot of times we hear the promise but we don't believe the promise. We go through the motions of seeking the promise but in reality we don't want the disappointment when it doesn't show up so we slack on our journey.
The Bible says to keep your eyes on the prize ["The Reward"], Philippians 3:14. The moment we lose our focus, our determination, is when are eyes are on something else. That something else is usually doubt and fear. When doubt and fear are allowed in, they begin to cripple us. We become paralyzed. We don't want to finish our journey. We have to be determined to complete our goals. Be in prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:6). Read the Word of God. Surround yourself with spiritual mothers and fathers. Remind yourself of the Reward everyday. Just like we post our goal weight around the house, on cake, and on the mirror, make note of your promises and the rewards in finishing your journey around the house to see everyday. Don't let the problems make you stop. Climb that roof, remove that tile from your path and go get your reward.