17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.[a] 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

(Luke 5:17-26, ESV, Bolding mine)

I invite you to enter into this story.

To see the house so full of people that these men could not bring their precious friend in.

To see the possible sweat beads roll down as they hoisted their friend onto a roof and then, somehow, through the tiles lowered him before Jesus.

To see this friend, possibly wide-eyed looking at all these Pharisees, who may have at some point disregarded this man for his disabilities.

To see this denying of the normal social protocol to enter through the front door to encounter Jesus.

To see the risk of more social ostracization worth it, to meet Christ, the Great Healer.

To see the friends peering down through the roof, peering with big, hope-filled eyes, and hoping extravagantly that Jesus really is who people say He is.

To see Jesus.  This God-Man with eyes full of compassion.  Eyes looking not just at the man on the mat, but at the friends up above…

“And when [Jesus] saw their faith, he said, ‘Man your sins are forgiven you.'” (Luke 5:20, italics added)

One of my prayers for us at the shelter, for us as listeners to whole stories, is that we can be like those friends.  That we go to great lengths to carry people to the feet of Jesus.  That we dare to pray with extravagant hope that the farthest out person receive the forgiveness of sins, that they encounter Christ.  That we would have faith enough to bring people to the feet of the cross and entrust them to Jesus.  That we would stretch ourselves and risk much like these friends in the story if only someone would know more Gospel-hope.

Lord God, may we as Your ambassadors be like these men who brought their friend to the feet of Jesus.  Lord guide us, help us follow the Spirit’s leading even when it means doing things unconventionally or in ways that may risk our reputation.  Thank you for showing us your heart not just for the man on the mat but for his friends as well.

Jesus, help us live out of love for and confidence in You, not out of fear.  Remind us as we go that You are the Healer, and we are mere bond servants.  Thank You for allowing us to participate in this ministry.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(All views expressed in this blog are solely those of myself, Bridget.  I do not speak for my family, my workplace, my church, my denomination, or for God.  Names and identifying features of people in the stories of this blog have been changed to protect their privacy and confidentiality.)