"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:1-2
As with most things involving Jesus, they are amazing at several levels. So it is with this story. Not only does Matthew record it here, Luke also was inspired to write it down in chapter 5 of his gospel.
This morning I want to focus on a powerful weapon God has given us to overcome fear. It is on display in this story. What is it? Faithful, faith-filled, fearless friends!
Here is a man who badly needed an encounter with Jesus but because of his physical limitation was unable to get to the Master. We find out in the story that not only was he sick, he was a sinner. In fact, as you read this account it seems to imply that his sickness and his sin were related.
This poor man was blessed to have some friends who believed in him and believed in Jesus and made sure that their friend would get to Jesus. They had faith but they were also faithful and put feet to their faith.
We don't know how far they carried him but it really doesn't matter! The fact that they carried him to the place where Jesus was is impressive. Even more impressive is how they climbed up to the roof, tore a hole in the roof and lowered him down to where Jesus was! Wow! They were fearless!
Matthew and Luke both mention that it was THEIR faith that impressed Jesus, not necessarily the man's faith! He may have been faithless. He could have been fearful. We don't know - but it really didn't matter! He had friends who did!
Jesus forgave this man and then healed him, because of how faith-filled his friends were! Do you have friends like this? Are there people in your life who will make sure you get to Jesus when you can't get to Jesus? Do you have friends who are faithful to you when you have lost faith in yourself? Do you have friends who are faith-filled when you have lost faith in Him? Do you have fearless friends who encourage you when you are overcome with fear?
This man did! I hope you do, too. I hope your church is populated with people like that. I hope you have friends in your fellowship who are so committed to you and so committed to Jesus that they will carry you to Him and rip off a roof if they have to! I would like to think there are some people at FredWes who are like that.
Let me ask you a more important question, "Are you a friend like that?"
One of the inspiring truths that emerges from this amazing account is the power of friendship and what a strong resource faithful friends can be for helping overcome fear!