When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he said to the paralytic– “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them.
Whenever I read today’s passage, what always strikes me is not the healing power of Jesus or even the predicament of the paralyzed man. What always strikes me is the resolve and faithfulness of the four individuals who were so determined to get the paralyzed man in front of Jesus. They cared so much about their injured friend, and their belief that Jesus could do something for him was so strong, that they were willing to go to extremes to help. They hauled him to the roof, dug their way through the roof itself, and then gently lowered the paralytic down to Jesus so that he could be healed. It seems that Jesus too was amazed by their resolve. Here he was back in Capernaum, in his own home, talking to the people who had gathered to see him, when four desperate men destroy the roof of his house to get help for their friend. Jesus could have been furious, but instead he was moved by their faith, and he healed the paralyzed man.
Who are the people in your life who would dig through the roof for you? Who are the people in your life who have stood by you, supported you, gone above and beyond the call of duty to believe in you when perhaps you did not even believe in yourself? Maybe it was a teacher or a parent from long ago. Maybe it was a best friend who helped you through a difficult time. Maybe it is your spouse, your partner, or your child. Whatever the case, as we do the hard work of self-examination this Lent, we need to give thanks for the people who have hauled us through life and gone to great lengths to get us the support we need. We wouldn’t be here without them, and we have been blessed because of them.
Gracious God, help me today to realize that you will be speaking to me through the events of the day, through people, through things, and through creation. Give me ears, eyes and heart to perceive you, however veiled your presence may be. Give me insight to see through the exterior of things into the interior truth. Give me your Spirit of discernment. O Lord, you know how busy I must be this day. If I forget you, do not forget me. (Jacob Astley)