Mark 2:1-17 (ESV)

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 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.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” 13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus returned to Capernaum, which he considered home. Commentators believe Jesus lived with Peter and Andrew in Capernaum. Many gathered around the home to hear from Jesus, even completely blocking the doorway. While Jesus was preaching to the crowd, four men tried to get a paralyzed man close to him. But they just couldn’t push their way through this group of people. No one gave up his spot for the paralytic. The four men grew desperate. They went up the staircase alongside of the house, dug an opening in the roof, and lowered the paralyzed man on a mat right in front of Jesus. Talk about persistence! While Jesus was teaching, he looked at the paralyzed man and said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus didn’t scold the men for literally dropping in during his teaching, but simply stated that the paralytic was forgiven. Can you imagine what the crowd was thinking? The four didn’t bring the paralytic there to have his sins forgiven. They wanted him healed! In addition, the scribes thought, “Wait a minute! Jesus is claiming he can forgive sins! No one can do that but God!” Jesus knew what the scribes were thinking and went on to heal the paralyzed man with the words, “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” Immediately, the man was restored to health, proving Jesus could heal and forgive sins. The amazed crowd gave glory to God.

The faith of the paralytic’s four friends is fascinating. Even Jesus was impressed (v. 5). But it is interesting to consider that Jesus clearly responded to the faith of the group of men, and It’s evident that the paralytic’s faith is included in this “group faith” the text speaks of. Jesus forgave the paralyzed man’s sins and healed him in response to the faith and actions of his friends. It is easy to forget that Jesus responds to our faith, even when we come to him on behalf of someone else. Who in your life needs the help of Jesus? Are you continually bringing them before him in prayer? Are you passionate? Would you push through a crowd, climb stairs, or dig a hole in a roof so that Jesus might consider them? Don’t grow weary in asking the Lord to save those you love. Bring them before the throne of God in prayer today. You never know when Jesus might do a work in their life.