A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-1

What did Jesus value in people? To what did He respond in people’s actions and attitudes towards Him? There were different responses in this story. The house was crowded with people, curiosity-seekers, people who loved being entertained by His miracles, those in need, those who learned from His teaching and, as always, the Pharisees who were both spies and critics.

Into that crowd came 5 people, four friends who carried a fifth, a paralytic lying on his sleeping mat; not through the door but through the roof. What did Jesus recognise immediately in these men that caused Him to respond? They were determined, persistent, persevering, committed, creative and confident in their approach to Jesus. They refused to allow anything to stop them from getting the paralysed man to Him.

Is it any wonder that He responded so promptly to the situation? To have people take so much trouble and effort to reach Him meant that they were not going to stop until they got what they wanted. Why does Jesus value this kind of attitude? It means that they had so much confidence in Him that they would do whatever it took to bridge the gap between their friend and Him.

What does this mean in today’s terms? We don’t have to overcome physical obstacles to reach Him but there is still a heart attitude that will bring us close to Him. What is it that hinders our confidence in His ability and His will to meet our need? How determined and persistent are we to overcome every obstacle between Him and us?

It doesn’t matter if the issue is our need or the needs of a friend. He values the attitude that recognises His heart for people and will stop at nothing until we have touched His heart. It is not God’s reluctance that we have to overcome but our reluctance to accept His unconditional love.

Luella Campbell

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