Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Love of a True Friend

Once upon a time, there was a man robbed of the ability to do anything for himself.  Day in and day out, he lay upon his dirty mat of a couch as he helplessly watched others dress him and put bites of food into his mouth.  He was a wretch, partly because of his paralysis and partly because of the torment of his own sin.

But, this man was blessed.  He had four friends who cared for him deeply.  They longed to see him healed and they knew that a Healer, the Healer, lived amongst them. The four men each picked up a corner of the paralytic's mat and carried him to the source of hope.

These men couldn't preach.  They couldn't save.  They couldn't heal.  So, they acted within the abilities that God had endowed them with.  They used their strength to get him into the Savior's presence.

When they reached the house where Jesus was teaching, the crowd had already gathered.  They could not even get close to the threshold!  Everyone was so enthralled with the Master's true words that none would make way for the poor paralytic.

The four men continued to exercise their faith and refused to give up. Their friend needed Hope and so they dug in with diligence.  To the roof they headed.

There was a staircase on the outside of the house that led to the roof.  The roof was many layers, a mixture of branches, sticks, clay, and tiles.  The four men gently laid their friend down as they began to literally unroof the roof.  They dug in with their hands, breaking up earth and tile and debris and anything else that hindered their sight of the Holy One.

The dust and rubbish must have been falling onto the dwellers below but their faith only fueled their unconventional methods.  They simply had to get the sick man inside. A righteous hunger clawed away at each piece of tiling and earth.

These men couldn't preach.  They couldn't save. They couldn't heal.  They chose not to judge.  But, they could use their strength to unroof a roof in order to lower their friend into the presence of Jesus. Their hearts broke with compassion for their friend and yet they uttered no words to the Healer once they lowered him down.  They simply believed Jesus would take it from there.

The paralytic had the love of true friends.  Friends that pointed him to Jesus and carried him there when he was unable to carry himself.

When Jesus saw their faith, He acted.  He took away the sin. He restored the body.

The faith of four friends penetrated through a roof.  A roof. 

"Smash or crash, everything shall go to pieces which stands between the soul and its God:  it matters not what tiles are to be taken off, what plaster is to be digged up, or what boards are to be torn away, or what labor, or trouble, or expense we may be at; the soul is too precious for us to stand upon nice questions.  If by any means we may save some, is our policy." Charles Spurgeon quoting Mr. Hartley in sermon #981

These four friends had a burning desire to get the paralytic into the presence of Jesus.  They threw out all conventional rules, status quo and niceties and decided to tear up a stranger's roof so their friend could have a chance at complete restoration.

The love of a true friend brings the person into the presence of Grace and then steps back.

The love of a true friend refuses to give up when conventional methods won't work.

Who can you carry to the Savior today? What roof can you unroof? What friend will be eternally blessed today by your perseverance?

For further study:

Luke 5:15-26
Matthew 9:1-8
Mark 2:1-12
This sermon by Charles Spurgeon

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