Published On: Wed, Jul 22nd, 2015

Out of the Way

By: Elizabeth A. Mitchell

“And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus.” (Luke 5:18)

Getting in front of Jesus was their only hope, and nothing or no one could stand in their way.

The Healer had returned to Capernaum and word spread like a forest ablaze with fire. The leper with pure, unblemished skin and the demon-possessed man, who now both lived in freedom, were resounding advertisements to Jesus’ power. Surely he would touch their crippled friend and deliver wholeness to his limbs.

The four men lifted the pallet and brought him down the streets and through the lanes to the home where Jesus stood teaching the important Pharisees and attorneys. Their mission was clear: get inside that house, squeeze through the crowd, and position themselves directly in front of that Miracle Worker Jesus.

But barricades in the form of enormous crowds blocked their plan. The people spilled out in every direction like wheat flowing over the top of an overstuffed sack. No way in. No possible way to force inside, but always room above. The faithful men hoisted the paralytic up the flight of stairs, set him down carefully on the roof, and painstakingly removed the tiles separating them from the Nazarene.

With effort and determination the four lowered the pallet with their deformed friend right down to where Jesus stood surrounded by religious and court officials. And when Christ saw the faith of these men he immediately said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you,” and then, “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”[1]

These four teach me what faith looks like, give me instructions in what friendship means, but most importantly demonstrate the necessity for perseverance in the midst of adversity.  Enormous obstacles blocked their path to Jesus and it would have been understandable if they had retreated and returned their paralyzed friend to the condition they had found him.

But they were willing to make every adjustment necessary to get their friend to Jesus because they were fully convinced that Jesus was the only answer to their problem. That being the case, they would stop at nothing to ensure they positioned him directly there.

Obstacles line our path too and may prevent us from getting in front of Jesus. The excuses are limitless, our pressures real and time-consuming. But if we truly believe that Jesus is our only source of hope, if we too are convinced that time with Jesus is enormously essential, then getting to Jesus will become our number one priority.

The busier our schedules, the more pressurized our positions, the more we must fight to overcome any obstacle keeping us away from time alone with him. Like these four faith-filled men, may our persistence and resolve propel us toward the sin-forgiving, load-lifting, peace-providing, life-sustaining, death-conquering Savior.

[1] Luke 5:20,24

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