A Friend Like That (Mk 2:1-12)

Meditating on Mark in Lent — Mark 2:1-12 

(I’m reading slowly through the book of Mark, seeking what I can learn about God and about being a follower of Jesus from each passage. I’m also letting my imagination get involved and trying to crawl into each story, to let it speak to me as it will and to respond from inside. I’ve decided to share some of them here as I go along and would love to hear your comments and reflections on the same scriptures.)

And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven. . . But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

What kind of people cause such a scene? The house was packed with people who had arrived before them. The good seats were already taken. In fact, all the seats were taken. Even the doorway was filled with the later arrivals, too late to squeeze into the house and settling on listening and peering in from outside.

And then these men came. They were too late, the house packed with even the SRO tickets sold out. The show had already begun; Jesus was teaching.

But these men didn’t let that stop them. They were going to get their friend in front of Jesus. They knew what Jesus could do, they wanted their friend well, and they weren’t going to wait. Right in the middle of the teaching, interrupting the great teacher himself, not caring that they were interrupting, not caring what he would think or how their disruption would annoy the others, they removed the roof and got their friend in front of Jesus.

Mark 2 1-12

Can you imagine what the others in the room thought? What were their reactions? Hey, we were here first! Wait your turn. Who do you think you are?

And how did Jesus respond? Was he startled at the unexpected interruption? At what point did Jesus realize what was happening? What was his reaction — at first to the noise and disturbance and then to the realization of what was going on? I can imagine a slow grin appearing on his face and a twinkle in his eye as he saw the crazy bold faith of these friends. I imagine his delight at their tenacious love and faith. I imagine him thinking, “Now, this is a story that will be told for eternity.” And then he healed the man and the crowd, astounded at what they had seen, praised God.

Jesus, give me friends like this, friends who will go to great lengths to bring me to you.

And, Jesus, let me be a friend like that.

Fill me, Holy Spirit, Power of God, fill me with this kind of bold love and faith. Move through me to bring people to Jesus. And move in healing, Jesus, that people would be amazed at what you do and glorify God.

 

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