Who Are Your Stretcher-Bearers?

December 16th, 2012

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5 NRSV)

In this account, Mark notes that Jesus was “at home” in Capernaum. Once again, as had happened that first night in Capernaum, Jesus was ministering in a house, likely Simon’s home where he was staying. The houses were relatively small, and there were perhaps twenty or thirty people surrounding him as he taught, with more standing in the doorway and at the windows. So, when the friends of a paralyzed man brought him on a stretcher to be touched and healed by Jesus, they could see that there was no getting into the house.

Some friends would have given up, saying, “We’ll have to bring you to Jesus another time,” but not these friends. Refusing to take “no” for an answer, they climbed to the roof of Simon’s house, hoisting their paralyzed friend up with them and intending to lower him through the roof. Luke tells us that the roof consisted of tiles. Mark tells us, in the Greek, that they dug through the roof, which would imply a roof made of mud and reed or palm branches. In either case, these men were determined that Jesus would touch their friend, and they were willing to tear the roof off Simon’s house to see that it happened.

Can you imagine the boisterous Simon Peter looking up as dust began to fall from the ceiling, then seeing the four men pulling off the roof to lower their friend? I can imagine him roaring in anger, “What in the name of Abraham are you doing to my house!?” But I picture Jesus reaching out his hand to calm Peter down.

The men lowered their friend before Jesus. Mark tells us, “Seeing their faith, he spoke to the paralytic” and healed him. In other words, the man was healed not because of his own faith, but due to the faith Jesus saw in his friends!

Everyone needs stretcher bearers like these—friends who will carry you when you are at your weakest, friends who not only will pray for you but will do whatever it takes to help you get back on your feet. In my experience, the only way to have such stretcher-bearers is to be a stretcher-bearer like that for someone else. Who are your stretcher-bearers? Whose stretcherbearer are you? Investing in them could change your life. It did for a man in Capernaum.

Lord, help me to be a stretcher-bearer for others—to give the time and energy to care for them and carry them when they need it most. Help me to be open to the care of others in my time of need. Amen.

excerpt from: The Way: 40 Days of Reflections by Adam Hamilton Copyright©2013 by Abingdon Press. Used with permission.

comments powered by Disqus