January 18 I Monday
“Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.” —Mark 2:4
Crowds followed Jesus wherever He went. People were desperate to hear Him preach or receive healing from Him, but Scripture records a few occasions where people went to great lengths for a moment of His attention. Mark 2 tells of a paralytic man whose friends carried him to Jesus’s home in Capernaum to receive healing, but the crowd was so large that they simply could not get near. Rather than giving up, they went onto the roof where they dug a hole and lowered their friend to where Jesus was preaching.
It is hard not to smile at the unconventional method that these friends used to get Jesus’s attention, and He was impressed by the motivation behind their actions. Mark writes, “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralysed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” (Mark 2:5). Significantly, Mark emphasizes not just the paralysed man’s faith, but their faith. Jesus looked at this group of friends and saw tenacity and perseverance. He saw an active faith that would not give up, regardless of obstacles in their way. These friends had such a deep compassion for their friend and such a resolute faith in Jesus that they were willing to work around any challenges so their friend could meet with Him.
As disciple-makers, we are called to have a similar tenacity to our faith. For those hurting within the church, Paul writes, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The church is meant to be a community that helps one another, especially when we are overwhelmed. We are to share with our brothers and sisters who need help, tangibly supporting one another as well as interceding with the Father on each other’s behalf and for our friends and family who do not yet believe.
God is filled with compassion that all people would come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but there are often obstacles, many self-imposed, that keep people from seeking Him. Some people surround themselves with friends who dismiss or mock God, while others might convince themselves not to believe because of painful experiences or blaming God for not intervening in the way they would like. More practically, some may find themselves unable to attend church or hear a sermon on the radio or television because of physical limitations.
No matter how large the obstacles seem, we must never give up on the lost in our lives. No amount of prayer, service or laying them at the feet of Jesus is too much. Tenacious faith looks beyond obstacles and seeming impossibilities, trusting in the God who gave His own Son to overcome all resistances and save them.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for those in my life who tenaciously support me and bring me before You in prayer. Reveal to me someone to do the same. Thank You, Father.