“On Your Mark”
What a Friend We Have in Jesus (Chapter 2 Verses 1-12)
Meanwhile back in Capernaum, the home is invaded (vv1-2), and Jesus exposes the word of God to them. The people are so captivated by the proclamation no one can enter or leave. This was the Lord’s primary work and it delighted him to do it. Can you imagine as he does so what is happening, people with no concept of God, his kingdom, or what sin really is, come at last to a measure of understanding. Some with years of guilt and fear because of sin and failure, finding forgiveness, O how sweet! Beloved, never despise the word of God, it really is powerful, it is our best good. It is in that setting that four men brought their disabled friend. This is called active faith. We may not be able in a physical sense to bring our friends to Jesus, but we certainly can in prayer, and not just privately, but corporately too. So often the position looks impossible (v4)? You think that husband, wife, brother or sister could never be got to Jesus? Well here is an impossible situation. What removes the difficulty? Active faith. Which refuses to take no for an answer. They work at it. But then doesn’t spiritual life have to be worked at? It does not come automatically to us. Whatever crowd of difficulties lie before you, they can be overcome by faith (1John 5.4). Jesus says, “bring them hither to me” (Matthew 14.18), your family, your trials, your emergencies, your suffering.
When Jesus saw their faith (v5)? Whose faith? We cannot exclude the crippled man’s faith, can we? I mean his friends would never bring him against his will. He must have consented to this risky roof business. Yes it is true Jesus healed many people who had no faith, but this is different. There are some commentators who allow this man’s sin to be dismissed and at the same time deny he had any faith. Now I ask you where in all the Bible does it ever say, that a person’s sins were remitted without faith (Ephesians 2.5-8). In fact this man’s faith is ahead of his friends, they know he needs healing, but he knows he needs something deeper, he needs forgiveness. With a true knowledge of the man’s needs, seeing not only the guilt but the repentance, Jesus pardons (v5). What a blessing is the joy, and the peace of conscience, when the long-carried burden is lifted? What a relief when this Man Jesus knows all about it, sees everything, yet there is no scorn, no rebuke, only kindness, love and forgiveness (Romans 5.1; Romans 8.1; Romans 4.7-8). There is forgiveness with God you know (Isaiah 55.6-7), praise his holy and wonderful name.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)