Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
During a week-long vacation to Bear Trap, an Intervarsity Christian family camp in Colorado Springs, my family enjoyed biblical teaching each morning, activities in the afternoon, and skits each night.
On the last evening, the speaker reminded us that Jesus was the door, and it was our responsibility to help people find Him.
“Show them the door,” he'd said.
But sometimes we’re standing in the way. We become somewhat like the crowd that hinders the lost, sick, and lonely from getting through.
For nearly two years, we've had to avoid crowds and gatherings due to the pandemic. Either way, we're drawn to crowds or repelled by them. Say, “It might be crowded” and my husband isn’t budging, no way, no how.
The men who took it upon themselves to see to the need of a paralytic were not put off by the crowd, a group that remained seated and unresponsive to the situation. In the men's effort to find an entrance point to the house, they weren't giving up. Because Jesus was inside—the reason a crowd had gathered in the first place.
Their persistence wasn’t with the superficial spirit many have toward seeing a celebrity (did somebody say Donny Osmond?). They had a confident trust that laying the man before Jesus would result in healing—and they left the nature of healing in His hands.
First, the paralytic needed his sins forgiven, (vs 20) then physical healing. (vs 24)
He knows our greatest, soul-deep needs as well.
Only one week into 2022 and many of us have already been assaulted by crowds ... those filling the space of our mind and emotions.
Challenges, disappointment, doubt, loss, worry.
Maybe the Lord has asked us to seek reconciliation in a relationship, yet we’re mentally filled to the brim with reasons to avoid the effort. The situation feels desperately crowded with obstacles to success.
Maybe we're so concerned for a wayward soul(s) that the Lord has asked us to find rest of heart and get out of the way so they can find the door to Jesus.
Hush up and pray, Mary.
Let’s follow the example of these men who exhibited sure and certain faith that Jesus would do what was needed and were not put off by the crowd, saying "Sorry, Dude. Ain't no way in".
And by golly, let’s show people the door to get to the Healer so our fervor for Jesus doesn’t become thick with human effort and crowd the way to Him.
How disheartening for someone to take steps toward Jesus but discover our cynicism, disdain, or legalism has blocked all entrance points.
Are we willing to find a way through the crowd to Jesus for the benefit of others?
To what extent do we believe Jesus can heal? (yes, even that)
Do we consider a situation "too crowded" and give up?
Could it be that ... we are the crowd?
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Until next time,
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