Stretcher Bearers

“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.  So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  (Mark 2:1-5 (NIV)

Visualize Capernaum, a fishing port on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Feel the hustle of the port city, the smell of fish, the breeze from the sea.  Capernaum was the chosen home of Jesus after He was driven from Nazareth by the religious officials. (Luke 4:16, 28-30)   Capernaum was the home of Peter and Andrew, where Jesus called them to follow Him.  (Matthew 4:18-20)

There were so many people in the house they were gathering outside the door to hear Jesus preach the word.  Houses at that time were made of stone with flat roofs made of mud mixed with straw.  There were outside stairs that led to the roofs and the four friends may have carried the paralytic up the outside stairs to the roof.  Then they dug through the mud and straw roof to lower their friend to Jesus.  Can you smell the dirt, the dust, falling on the people inside?  Can you imagine Jesus as dirt and straw must have fallen into the room?

“When Jesus saw their faith”; the faith of the friends, He said “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  The paralytic was forgiven & healed not because of his faith, but due to the faith Jesus saw in his friends!  Can you imagine trying to get a stretcher with a man on it up the streets of Capernaum? Through a crowd?  Up the stairs?  Digging through someone else’s roof?  Then lowering the stretcher with the full weight of the man down through the hole in the roof.  The four friends were DETERMINED to get their friend to Jesus.

Who are your Stretcher Bearers?  Friends who will carry you when you are at your weakest.  Friends who not only pray for you, but with you, and will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to help you get back on your feet.

The only way to have such stretcher bearers is to be a stretcher bearer for someone else.  Whose Stretcher Bearer are you?

Lord, help me be a stretcher bearer for those I love – to give the time and energy to care for them and carry them when they need it most.  Help me to be open to the care of others in my time of need.  Amen