So one day, Jesus was in this house... Being a rather intriguing figure at the time, He was surrounded by a mass of people. Imagine a studio apartment filled wall-to-wall with people and not even enough room to pull and hors d'oeuvre from a tray. Well some guys showed up and had brought their friend along with them. Their friend was paralyzed, and these men had heard the stories about Jesus and quite simply believed that He could heal their friend. But the house was way too packed to come walking in through the front door with a motionless man on a mat in tow, so they came up with another idea. Up on the roof, they cut a hole and lowered the paralyzed man straight down into immediate area of Jesus. Pretty cool right? Some friends who were both creative and determined... but that's not all. Here's where the story gets interesting.
Jesus looks up at the friends on the roof, and the Bible says He "saw their faith" and then looked down at the paralyzed fellow and said "friend, your sins are forgiven." This causes a big ruckus in the room - "who can forgive sins but God?" "He can't say that" "Blasphemy!" blah blah blah - and then Jesus does His Teddy Roosevelt 'speak softly but carry a big stick' routine and simply says "get up, take your mat, go home." The paralyzed dude (that means he is scientifically, medically, and common-knowledge-to-everybody completely unable to walk) then hops up, rolls up his ancient Capernaum therm-a-rest, and trots out the door (do you think the crowd parted to let him out? Or did he have to play human plinko to reach the door?).
This was one of the many "I AM GOD" statements that Jesus made in not so many words.
But go back a minute. Did you notice who's faith He recognized? The friends of the paralyzed guy. The Bible says "Jesus saw their faith." Now I'm not saying that the paralyzed man didn't also have a very real and intimate salvation experience through faith with Jesus as He lost the weight of his sins and stood up to walk. But all that we know for sure is that his friends had faith. His friends had faith that Jesus could save him! Heal him! Make him whole again! This part we don't know: but what if the paralyzed man didn't want to go, didn't believe it could make any difference when his friends pitched the idea. He wouldn't have much say if they carried him off anyways. Perhaps that changed along the way. We don't know how it started or how it progressed in his mind, we just know that Jesus recognized the faith of his friends.
[Luke 5:17-26, Mark 2:1-12]
Do I have that kind of faith? Do I believe that Jesus can make a difference in the lives of others? Even if they don't believe it or don't think they want it? Do I really? Am I praying for other people and believing that my faith can actually make a difference in their lives?