Dr. Zach Crook
In Mark chapter two, we find a powerful story of four men who went above and beyond to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. As we approach Easter and reflect on the significance of this season, it’s important to consider how we can also be bringers, bringing others with us to encounter Jesus. In this article, we will delve into this story and explore the importance of bringing others to Jesus. Let’s consider how we can apply the lessons from Mark 2 to our own lives and be intentional about bringing people with us to encounter Jesus.
The Story of Bringing the Paralytic to Jesus
In this story, there are four men who went above and beyond to get their friend to Jesus. They were willing to do whatever it took to help their friend. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you didn’t know what to do, but you were determined to help someone in need? These four men cared deeply for their paralytic friend and were willing to go to great lengths to get him in front of Jesus. What is remarkable about this story is that these four men were actually friends with the paralytic, despite the cultural norms of the ancient Near East, where physical ailments were seen as a result of sin. The four men built a relationship with the paralytic and cared enough to help him.
We can learn from this story and work to build relationships with others. We need to be ready to share the hope that we have with those around us, but first, we must form relationships with them. We should not be so insulated in our church bubble that we don’t step outside to build relationships with people who need Jesus. This can be done through an evangelism strategy called “just walk across the room.” We need to take the gospel to our neighborhoods as well as to the nations.
Going Above and Beyond to Bring People to Jesus
The four men in the story did not let the crowded house stop them from bringing their friend to Jesus. They could have made excuses, but instead, they came up with a plan to get their friend on the roof and dig through it to lower him down to Jesus. This required a lot of effort, but they were willing to go above and beyond to bring their friend to Jesus. In the same way, we should be willing to do whatever it takes to bring people to Jesus.
It is important to note that the roof they were digging through was made of branches and mud, with tiles on top. So, when they were digging through it, they had to peel off the tiles and dig through the branches and mud. This must have caused a commotion in the house while Jesus was preaching. However, their determination to bring their friend to Jesus paid off in the end.
Imagine the scene where Jesus is speaking, and everyone is captivated by His words. Suddenly, mud starts falling from the ceiling and a large hole appears, big enough to fit a grown man. A pulley system has been rigged up to lower a man down to Jesus from the roof. People sitting at the front are frustrated that someone is cutting in line. However, these four men were willing to look foolish and awkward to get their friend to Christ. Are we willing to do the same and have those difficult conversations about faith? Despite societal rules, sometimes we need to care enough to disregard them. It’s incredible to think that people can have hope in the gospel and put their faith in Christ. We may feel like we don’t have the right words to share, but if we know enough of the gospel to be saved by it, we know enough to share it.
How to Share Jesus with Others
If Jesus has had a profound impact on your life and has changed you, you will feel compelled to share your experience with others. However, sometimes we are more afraid of what others might think than of what God thinks. In our own circles of influence, there are people who might die today and be eternally separated from God. We worry about potentially awkward situations or appearing foolish, but even an eight-year-old can share the gospel. We need to be willing to go above and beyond to ensure that our loved ones, coworkers, or classmates hear the truth of the gospel.
Statistically, people are most likely to come to church on Easter Sunday. However, the number one reason why people attend a church for the first time is because someone they know invited them. Just like the four men who went out of their way to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus by digging through a roof, we need to do whatever it takes to ensure our loved ones have a chance to hear the gospel.
Maintaining an Eternal Perspective
When the paralytic was finally brought before Jesus, his friends were expecting him to be healed physically. However, Jesus addressed the man’s greatest need by forgiving his sins. As a church, we must be aware of the greatest need that people are facing. Jesus himself withdrew to spend time alone with His father and to pray, even when crowds were clamoring for his attention. He recognized that His ultimate purpose was to preach the gospel, and we must follow His example by prioritizing the spiritual needs of those around us.
Christ performed incredible miracles and healings, but his most miraculous work was regenerating sinners’ cold, dead hearts with the gospel. He came to preach the gospel and save souls. Even when he was known as a healer, he left to continue preaching. When He returned to Capernaum, He taught and preached, and a paralyzed man was lowered down to Him. Instead of healing him, Christ forgave his sins, revealing His concern for the man’s heart. The Pharisees and scribes questioned his authority to forgive sins, but Jesus knew their thoughts and challenged them to recognize his authority. He then healed the man to prove his authority to forgive sins. Jesus met physical needs so He could open the door to share the gospel. We should also meet felt needs and minister to those who are hurting, living out the gospel and being on mission for Christ. The greatest miracle is the regeneration of a sinner’s heart through Christ. We should be aware of people’s greatest need and share the hope of the gospel with them. The reason why the family is going to the Middle East to work with refugees is to share the gospel with people who are lost without it.
There are individuals within our circles of influence, including relatives, neighbors, coworkers, fellow students, and friends, who are currently separated from God eternally. What these individuals require is the gospel. Though Jesus healed the paralytic, He started by forgiving his sins so the people present could give glory to God and engage with him in astonishment. During Jesus’s first visit to Capernaum in chapter one, they merely desired healing, and their focus was solely on Jesus as the healer. However, in chapter two, they gave glory to God because He sent His Son to save them. They finally got it!
Similarly, there are people in your sphere of influence who require the hope of the gospel. I invite you to pray this week that God will give you opportunities to introduce them to Christ. Invite them to church next Sunday, but more importantly, bring them to Jesus and share with them the hope of the Gospel, which they need the most.