“Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him, and after digging through it, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying.” Mark 2:4 (CSB)
Even though this doesn’t happen to me much when I’m given the opportunity to preach a message, but a cell phone going off can be a bit distracting. And if it’s one of those fancy ringtones going off, the first thing that pops up in my head (and almost outta my mouth) is “That better Jesus calling.” Now thanks to Pastor Anthony Parise (of Victory Bible Church in Hammonton NJ) I found out about another challenging distraction that pastors, who are doing drive-in church, have to face…the late arrival in a car.
Now if you are one of those who arrives late for church and you’re going inside, it is easy to sneak in sorta unnoticed but if you’re doing it in, lets say, a 2012 Tacoma, during an outside service, over a stony parking lot (like at VBC) and you drive around looking for a space to park, guess what? You, my friend, are a distraction to not only the pastor, but to everyone else. However, being late to drive-in church isn’t a salvation issue so you’re still going to heaven and chances are you’ll be on time for that (I hope) Anyway…
Jesus is back home, in Capernaum, and He is preaching, probably in Peter’s house when, all of a sudden, some stuff starts to fall from the roof. The house is crowded with those who heard the news that Jesus was around and that He performs miracles. Now if I put myself in Jesus’ sandals for a moment, I’m pausing what I’m sharing and looking up to make sure a rafter isn’t the next thing to come falling down. But as the hole in Peter’s roof is getting bigger (I can only imagine what Peter’s thinking) He sees four guys start to lower someone right into the middle of the crowd.
“Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
I’m not sure that anyone has found faith by looking down, especially the four guys who had to get their friend to Jesus. Ya see, a faith that is moving in this fashion probably brought a smile to the face of Jesus, but if all faith can be is lip service then it’s not really a living faith, actually its sorta dead isn’t it? In James 2:14 we read, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” This is a challenge to the nominal, professing Christian who may have said a prayer at one time and are now lackadaisical. Many say this is like buying fire insurance to save someone from hell only, there is no fruit of salvation.
If there was anyone who displayed the fruit and the root of salvation it has to be Abraham. It’s starts off like this, “And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (Genesis 15:6) Now in Romans 4:1-3, the apostle Paul tells us that if faith was about God’s acceptance of good works only, Abraham would have boasted about himself. But if we read the verse before Genesis 15:6, we’ll see that all God did was say to Abraham there will be a promise of a son, then Abraham will allow the root of faith to take hold of him.
Now it is time to test that root. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (Genesis 22:2) Now in James 2:21-23 we’ll read where James tells us how Abraham’s faith becomes complete and is still rooted in Genesis 15:6. “So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.” (James 2:24) As my boy Matt Henry puts it, “The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith.”
The four guys that brought their friend to Jesus were definitely thinking outside the box. Their faith, in just Jesus alone, to heal their friend, may have said something to their belief system but when they put hands and feet to it (literally) it brought it to a whole different level. Sometimes it becomes necessary for us modern day Christians to do the same. I’m not saying sacrifice your sons or tear someone’s roof apart to display the faith you say you have but what I am saying is display your faith…don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk. Yes, there will be obstacles, but a crowded house didn’t stop four men from getting their friend to Jesus and it shouldn’t stop you. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org