Most of you are probably familiar with the story found in Luke 5:18-26 in which 4 friends carry a paralytic to see Jesus. Unable to get to him through any normal route, they cut a hole in the roof of the house and lower their friend down to Jesus. The story had many layers, including the divinity of Christ and the Pharisees complete lack of faith and understanding. But primarily this story is about the faith of a man and his 4 friends- and how that faith led to major moment in the Jesus Revolution. Today, as we pause for a time of worship and reflection, I invite you to spend some time with these two questions:
- Who brought you into the presence of Christ? This question is not so much about who preached the sermon or sang the song as it is about who dropped you through the roof to get you there. For me, it was my best friend from 8th grade on, Steve. And just like with the friends in the scripture, there were obstacles to overcome. He had invited me to go to summer camp with him and to attend his youth group, but I kept coming up with excuses. And he kept asking. He finally got through to me when I found out that the right girl would be at a youth group skating party. The mats our friends use to take us to Jesus can take many forms. I didn't know that Steve was changing my life forever- and I'm not sure he did either. But he did. He brought me into the presence of the Christ who would say to me over and over again in my life, "Get up! Your sins are forgiven." And trust me, there are still plenty of Pharisees who scoff at that today.
- Who is it in your life that you need to lower through the roof? I was taught a long time ago that it is important to have at least one specific person in your life that you are praying for in the hopes that they will come to know Jesus. In my youth groups we often spoke of praying for the Empty Chair- lifting up our friends who needed to be there and were not. And while the praying is important, I think sometimes we let ourselves off the hook too easily. Sometimes we need to physically bring them to the feet of the Savior. We need to invite them to church, or to a small group, or a concert, or dinner at our home- someplace where they will encounter the living Christ. We may need to put them on a mat, or in a car, or on a boat- whatever means necessary- to get them to Jesus. For the friends in Luke's gospel, it was about having their friend healed. It is no different for us. The healing may not be physical. It may be a relationship that needs help. It may be emotional. It is certainly spiritual. They need to see the Great Physician. They need to experience the Jesus Revolution in their lives. And it is our task as their friend to make sure they have that opportunity.