And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
We all need some good friends in our lives. People that are there for us no matter what. Someone who is always helping us move ahead and get to a better place. Good friends are a vital part of a healthy and happy life. When you think of a good friend who do you think of? What has that person done for you?
Jesus once said that there is no greater love than for someone to lay down their life for another. Jesus, of course, demonstrated that for us when He gave His life for us. He really is a true friend – the best friend. He is always there for us. Always has our best interest at heart. He is there, looking out for us, no matter what. The problem is we don’t always see that and we often have trouble getting our selves in front of Him. Much like what happened to the paralyzed man in the story above.
In this story these men knew Jesus could heal their friend. But, since he was paralyzed he was unable to get to Jesus himself. So, they had to help. They had to carry him, they had to dig a hole in a roof, carry him up on the roof, tie up some ropes, and then lower him through the hole and in front of Jesus. None of that sounds easy! Have you ever tried to carry another person. It isn’t an easy task. But, they did it because they knew how much their friend needed Jesus.
There are times in life when we need those kinds of friends. We need someone who is willing to carry us and lower us down in front of Jesus. There are also times when we need to be that kind of friend – willing to go the extra mile and do the hard work of loving someone and helping someone get to Jesus.
I am thankful for the friends God has given me, who have held the rope for me when I have needed it. I am especially thankful that God is that kind of friend too. Jesus came and held that rope for us – removed the obstacle of sin so we could gain access to the Father. Be that kind of friend to those around you. Surround yourself with those kind of people, you will be better for it.
…Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God…
Do you know what happens to a balloon (filled with air) when you hold it over a flame? It pops. I am not a scientist but I am sure it has something to do with the air inside expanding due to the heat resulting in a popped balloon. But, do you ever feel like a balloon that is being held over a flame? You are being stretched and stretched and you feel like you are going to explode at any minute? The trials and troubles of life have just heated you up to the point where you just can’t take it anymore? It is a feeling most all of us can relate to, I am sure.
The story the above verse comes from is one where most people would have popped. Paul and Silas have been put into prison for doing what God had asked them to do. Paul, just before going into prison, seemed annoyed and exhausted. A combination that usually leads to an explosion (at least I know it can for me). But, instead of exploding they sang praises – right from their prison cell. In a trying and stressful time they found a way to rejoice. How did that do that?
Let’s go back to the balloon for just a second. The balloon popped because of what was inside of it. Now, if you fill that balloon with water and hold it over a flame it won’t pop (at least not as easily and not right away). That water that is filling the balloon will protect it from the heat of the fire. It really does matter what you put in it.
The same goes for us. What is on the inside matters. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises because God’s joy had filled them on the inside. They still experienced the stress, pressure, and heat of the outside world but it didn’t destroy them because of God’s presence in them. Paul once said that he has learned to be content in every circumstance because of God’s love for him – because of Jesus.
Allow God to fill you today – to fill you with His love, forgiveness, and peaceful presence. With Him you too will be able to sing praises in the face of trials. Paul and Silas experienced peace in prison and also freedom. As they sang their chains fells off. Sing praises to God today and watch Him lead you through the storm and free you of your chains!
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.