God Needs Stretcher-Bearers

ss-100714-afghan-crossroads-11.ss_full And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:3-5

How much are we willing to do to save our friends? What do we let get in the way of saving the lost? We are commanded to make disciples, but how many of us make it our life rather than something to do only when it is convenient or when someone falls into our lap? If we are being honest with ourselves, most of us keep Jesus and the gospel to ourselves not because we aren’t appreciative but because it is difficult to witness. We love God and everything He has done for us, but we do so in private. It is an amazing thing to have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, but many of us choose to keep it personal and refuse to be used by God in order to share the Good News to a lost and perishing world. The story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man reflects what every one of us should be doing. It is a story that reflects the boldness and perseverance of men who are willing to do anything for a fellow image bearer of God.

Most people who read the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man focus on the man and they focus on Jesus. They see a man who was not only healed of being paralyzed, but of Jesus, in front of everyone, claiming to have the power to forgive a man of his sins. In that instant, Jesus claimed a right only given to God himself. It is an amazing example of Jesus healing a man inside and out. What many of us often forget to think about are the friends of the man who went above and beyond in an effort to help. These stretcher-bearers brought a man to Jesus when that man couldn’t walk himself.

I think it might be difficult for us to imagine the love these men had for their friend. In a day when we cast off friends for simple slights, the idea that men would go to such lengths to help their friend might seem foreign to us. I like to imagine what that exchange looked like. One of them coming to the rest and saying something in the order of, “Jesus is here! I’ve heard that he is healing the sick and making the blind see! Let’s go get Bill (His name might have been Bill!) and see if this Jesus can heal him!” They not only thought of their friend rather than themselves, but they loved him so much as to carry him on a stretcher all the way to see Jesus on the chance that their friend would be healed. Even more amazing is that when they saw that the house where Jesus was teaching was full, these guys carried their friend onto the roof, broke a hole in the roof and had the gall to lower their friend into the house while Jesus was giving a sermon.

introduce-others-to-christ-465x280 How convicting should that be for all of us? Unbelieving friends who are perishing surround us and we stand by and do nothing. Notice that I said we and not you for I am as bad about this as practically anyone. The men who carried the paralyzed man went out of their way to try to heal their friend while we can’t even be bothered to have an uncomfortable conversation with a friend. I want you to consider the fact that we are watching our friends walk blindly into an eternity in hell. Why? Are we too busy? Is it too inconvenient? Would you do nothing if you saw an infant on a highway with cars passing by or would you stop and save the child? That is literally what we are doing! We know that our non-believing friends are in serious danger, but we can’t be bothered to help.

I know that most will not be receptive to the gospel, but I also know that I heard the gospel over and over again for almost 7 years before the Spirit worked in my heart enough to receive salvation. Just like the paralyzed man, I have my own list of stretcher-bearers that did not give up on me. I thank God for the men and women in my life who were willing to carry me to meet Jesus. These people decided to forego the easy thing and do what it took to save me from an eternity separated from God. The dead cannot save themselves and only God can raise people from the dead, but God needs stretcher-bearers. Jesus needs faithful men and women who are willing to bring the dead to Him to be healed. Are you willing?

Michael Davis
Senior Editor of Veterans to Christ. Served as a Cavalry Scout from 2005-2009. Iraq Veteran.