The gospel of Mark describes for us a story about a man who was paralyzed. Jesus has just re-entered Capernaum and word has spread all over that He was in the house (Mk. 2:1). Immediately there was a gathering of people so that the house was full. As Jesus was preaching to the full house this paralyzed man was brought to Jesus by his four friends. The house being full they were unable to enter. So they went up on the roof top and began tearing off the roof so that they could let their helpless friend down to see Jesus. This story provides us with a wonderful analogy for today. We have a cross section of humanity. This reminds us of the practical nature of God’s word.
First of all there are the helpless. A paralytic was one who had lost all power of motion. Not only was he helpless, but he was an object of pity as well. He was completely dependent on his friends to move him from place to place. More than that, he was a sinner. Sin paralyzes men today and blinds us to our true need of Christ (Jn. 5:40). Sin is a disease that paralyzes noble effort. Sin is progressive, one evil after another (Jas. 1:14-15). While paralysis makes one dependent on others for help, recognition of sin makes us dependent on Christ for remission of sins.
Many people are helpless, but there is only one Healer (Mt. 8:9-13). Jesus, the Great Physician, was sympathetic with this man. He did not turn him away. In fact, He never turned away anyone who came to Him for help. Even so today He pleads, “Come unto me…” (Mt. 11:28-30). Jesus understands the nature of sickness (Heb. 4:15). He has authority from heaven; He has the life-saving remedy – the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). But in order for a person to come to the Great Physician he must first see himself as being sick.
That brings us to another important group: the helpers. The helpers were the four friends of the paralyzed man. They went to a lot of trouble and inconvenience to get their friend to Christ (Mk. 2:4). They realized they could not heal their friend themselves but they could bring him to the Healer who could. Today, we cannot save sinners but it is in our power to bring them to the Savior who can. Notice the characteristics of these helpers. They had faith in the Healer: “When Jesus saw their faith…” (Mk. 2:5). These helpers loved the sick man. They also had a spirit of cooperation and determination: “And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd they uncovered the roof where He was” (Mk. 2:4). They removed the roof; overcame obstacles. They were not turned away from their primary objective of bringing their friend to Christ. These four worked together. We also need to cooperate and work with one another (1 Cor. 3:6, 9). Love motivates our working together (Gal. 5:6). Notice, by bringing their paralyzed friend to Jesus these four were also in His presence. There can be no greater cooperation than working together to bring a sin sick soul to Christ. No person is nearer the Lord than the soul winner. In fact, to become like Christ we must be trying to save souls (Lk. 19:10).
The final group in the story are the hinderers. These were divided into two groups. First, there were the unintentional hinderers. They didn’t realize they were blocking the way. They simply stood in the door-way meaning no harm, but they hindered a good work. They represent a self-seeking, self-serving group who are unmindful of the needs of the lost or those in need. The second group were the intentional hinderers. These were the cold carping critics sitting in the seat of the scornful looking for flaws in others. They were malicious individuals with no constructive purpose but to hinder. If we are not careful, we can become like them. We can so easily become critical of work being done but never ready to work ourselves. We may find the easier way to be the way of less activity. But notice, neither one of these groups is desirable. Both hindered the Lord from His work and the men who were trying to bring their friend to the Lord.
Which one of these are you? We cannot be the Healer. But, if we are helpless, we must seek the Healer. Maybe we need a few friends, helpers, to bring us to Him. If we are the hinderers, we should stop it right now! Be sure not to allow yourself or one saved individual to hinder any who are helpless from being helped to Christ.
by Rickie Jenkins