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, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
In our hyper-individualistic culture, I don’t know how much we really buy into the idea, indeed the truth that we’re really in life and in faith together. We are after all one body in Christ, not only our own bodies, but one body together through the Spirit. And by extension through Christ’s death, that oneness is meant for all.
The story from the gospel is remarkable. To get around the crowd of people pressed together, friends dug through the roof of Peter’s home (maybe Peter one of them?) to get this paralyzed friend to Jesus to be healed. There is a more than admirable determination in that. They had faith in Jesus that he could heal their friend. The text does not tell us that the paralyzed man had the same faith himself, though maybe he did. Jesus saw their faith and responded to that, telling him that his sins were forgiven. Then after the needed confrontation with the religious leaders present, Jesus healed the man.
Do we realize what difference our faith can make for others? Or for that matter how much at certain times the faith of others can help us? I certainly realize the latter. We can help each other so much by exercising our faith in Christ for each other as well as for others. An insistent, persistent faith.
There will be special times as in this story, but this also needs to be a regular practice as we’re told in the Ephesians passage above. Sometimes in doing so, in fact to some degree more often than not, I feel like I’m treading water or sand, not making much progress, and it seems probably doing little to no good. Feeling other than that is actually not the usual for me. But we have to keep doing it, hopefully to grow in that practice, so that it becomes more and more a part of who we are. And yes individually, but together as well, perhaps an emphasis on that. God seems to especially honor united prayer. This will surely help us to be ready for those special extraordinary times when the Lord’s help is sorely needed.
In and through Jesus.