And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:3-5 (NASB)
We use the idiom ‘through the roof’ to imply that something has suddenly rocketed in price, seemingly out of control. The price of petrol, taxes, the crime rate and even tempers can all go ‘through the roof’. In Mark 2:1-12 we see a man literally go through the roof, thanks to his four faithful friends. Jesus was in a house, teaching a large group of people. The place was packed.
Verses 3 and 4 tell us of four faithful friends – friends who cared enough to be inconvenienced for another. They could have said, he’s too heavy, we’ve left it too late, the crowd is too large, maybe we’ll try next time Jesus is in town. They could have said, we’ve never done anything like this before; what will people think? They could have gone home discouraged and missed the miracle, but thankfully they refused to quit. I love people who think outside the box, people with unlimited vision, people with a can-do attitude. These four friends removed the lid of human limitation
Can you think of a friend you could help today? What action is needed. What kind of friend are you? We are told that iron sharpens iron.
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend… Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
When iron blades are rubbed together, each becomes sharper and thus more effective. Likewise, when believers are involved in one another’s lives, mutual edification occurs. This scripture emphasises the importance of making friends with quality people who help to improve us. Do you have other ‘irons’ in your life who can help in sharpening you? Do you have friends who are willing to lift you up to Jesus? Just like the paralysed man, we are dependent on the grace and compassion of those around us; and like the four friends, we need friends whose faith is active. Not only was their faith active but their action showed that they were convinced that Jesus could do something for their friend.
What can God do with four faithful and faith-filled friends? Read the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and how together they took their stand for God. Read church history and you will see how Rev J H Moore exhorted young men in a Bible class to “Do something more for God.” Four faithful friends – James McQuilkin, Jeremiah Meneely, Robert Carlisle and John Wallace – responded by gathering for prayer at Tawnybrack Old Sabbath School in Kells, Northern Ireland, prior to the 1859 revival. As they read and meditated upon the Scripture, their hearts began to burn with an unquenchable fire from heaven, which set all Ulster ablaze for God. A little pillar marks the site today and says:
Behind this pillar was the location of fervent prayer meetings before the 1859 revival.