1. And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
3. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Here we find that Jesus has returned to the place of his lodging. Depending on the Biblical scholar you prefer to read, this was generally accepted as the house of Peter, but some claim that it was the personal lodging place of Jesus when He was in the city. The scripture says that “it was noised that he was in the house. “ The word was out that Jesus had returned to the place where he lodged. It was here that the people of the city knew where to find him. This was the place to which one could expect to be directed if they were asking where one might find Jesus.
As soon as the word was out that Jesus was in the house, a crowd gathered. They came in such numbers as to make it impossible for any other person to enter the dwelling. They crowded even at the door to hear the words of Jesus. Understand this; this was a time when the only form of communication available was word of mouth. Someone told someone who told someone. There was no media blitz. There was no ad campaign. There were no event coordinators involved in this appearance of Jesus. There was no market saturation with media rumors. Someone told someone who told someone.
The crowd did not wait for Jesus to come to the synagogue. It would be reasonable to assume that He would come to the synagogue on the Sabbath. They thronged the house. They came from near and far. Some came, no doubt, for cures. Some came, possibly out of mere curiosity. Some came because of the possible advancement of their social standing. For whatever reason, they came; they came and filled the house. For whatever reason they came, Jesus “preached the word unto them. “
To this time and place came five men; one, sick of the palsy, carried by four men. They came, each carrying a corner of a sick mans bed. The distance they traveled is not recorded. What is important is that they did come. This particular story in the Bible can be noted for its starkness and lack of detail. The story is recounted in Matthew and Luke, as well as here in Mark. Matthew gives us the outline and Mark and Luke fill in the sparse detail.
The key elements in the story are as such:
· Jesus was in the house
· A crowd gathered filling the house
· Jesus preached the word
· A paralytic palsied man was brought by four friends
· By extraordinary effort he was brought to Jesus
· His needs were met
I want to look at the four that brought the paralytic to Christ. The writers of the scripture do not give their names or relationship to the man. It is possible they were friends. It is possible they were generous strangers. It is more probable that they were relatives or regular companions of the sick man.
In this Bible Study, I am going to give them identities. These are the four that brought a man to the house where Jesus was:
The first man carrying a corner of the bed was called need. It is need which brings us to Christ. In all of us is the inherent need to find Jesus. Man was created with the purpose of serving and worshipping God. When sin entered the world and corrupted that relationship, it severed that regular communication with God. (He came in the cool of the evening [as usual] to commune with His creation.) Since that day, man has sought ways and means to restore that communication and relationship with God.
Evolutionists will tell us that we created the idea of a God in order to give our lives meaning. It is our effort to give us the security of not believing that we are on a ball of mud and stone hurling through space around a ball of noxious gasses without someone in control. Their claim is that we need God to be real because it gives us hope and meaning. I have found that the simplest explanation is the best. It is simply that God created us with fellowship in mind. He created within us a desire to commune. With a few exceptions, mankind is not a solitary creature.
Beyond that basic need to communicate, we are rife with other needs. We need sustenance. We need shelter and protection. Those needs drive us. Most of what we do can be boiled down into basic needs categories. Work provides us with challenges and rewards. It provides a sense of accomplishment. It provides the necessary money to meet our other basic needs. It also provides us with our sense of being needed.
When we have a need, we will move to meet it. When my body needs food, I go to the place where I may find it. When my reserves are low, I go to the grocery. When my fuel gauge is nearing empty, I go to the gas station. However, need, in and of itself, is not enough to take us where we need to go.
The palsied man needed healing. Just needing healing would not prompt him to move if there was no reason of expectation of that need being met. Need alone will not cause a man to leave his mire of sin. Need, by itself, will not cause a blind man to cast aside his garment and come to Jesus. Need, by itself, will not cause a woman with an issue of blood to fight through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. It takes more than need to compel the father of a dying child to leave that child and seek out a renowned prophet to ask for healing. When the bank account is empty, there is no need to go to the grocery, regardless of how much I need groceries. There must be more than need to bring me to Christ.
Hope was carrying one of those corners. Without hope there was no need to bring the paralytic to the crowded room.
Have you ever seen hopelessness? Hopelessness does not take into consideration any possibility of resolution. Without hope a person will never move from the misery they are in.
Hope is one of the three main elements of the Christian life. 1 Corinthians 13.13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, ..” It is the opposite of seeing or possessing. Hebrews tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If we have it in our hands, we do not hope for it.
With this palsied man, there was a reasonable hope within him that if he could get to Christ, he might be made whole. It didn’t even have to be a definite thing. There was no assurance that Christ would heal him, but Christ had healed others. Christ had touched the blind and they saw. He had touched the deaf and they heard. His reputation as a prophet and healer proceeded Him. In the reports this man had heard, there was hope. It is said that a drowning man will grab at straws to save himself. Anything that gives hope will be tried. Without it, there is no movement.
Have you ever saw someone that had given up? They seem drained. It is as if you can actually see the loss of hope in their eyes. How devastating it must be to be without hope.
Hebrews tells us that to please God we must first believe that He is, and the He is a rewarder of those the diligently seek Him. Jairus had hope. The woman with the issue of blood had hope. Bartimeus had hope. They were spurred by that hope to come to the place where Jesus was. You will never come until hope takes a corner of your bed. You will never cry out until hope swells up inside you. Hope needs only be a small flicker. It will grow. It will multiply. Every good report feeds that hope.
Paul, speaking of hope, said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Our hope goes far beyond this present world. We have hope of healing. (By his stripes, we are healed.) We have hope of blessings. (He is our reward giver.)We have hope of our needs being met. (I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed to beg bread.) Even beyond that, if our hope is in what we can only gain in this life, we would still be the most miserable of creatures. Praise be to God that our hope transcends our mortality. Our hope surpasses our corruptible flesh. Our hope goes beyond the temporal. We have a hope of immortality. We have a hope of an incorruptible body. Our hope reaches into the eternal.
This hope, this immortal, incorruptible, eternal hope, drives us forward. Need motivates us. Hope enables us.
Couple with hope, it is one of the top three possessions of the Christian. 1 Corinthians 13.13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, ..” As we stated above. It is much akin to hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope are two of the carriers that bring us all to Christ. It is difficult to talk about hope without talking about faith. It is difficult to talk about faith without talking about hope.
Faith is a much needed and much talked about commodity. James tells us that faith without works is dead. He tells us that he will show his faith by the preponderance of his works. While need is our motivator, and hope is our enabler, faith is our demonstrator.
Faith reaches out.
The woman with the issue of blood had spent her living on doctors. She was not better, in fact, she was worse. She suffered her hemorrhagic condition for 12 years. All the cures given to her by the physicians of the day had a twofold effect. It made her condition worse and it drained her finances. Here, a woman with great need, with nowhere else to turn, got a hold of hope, and with faith, made her way through a throng surrounding Jesus, and, by faith, touched his garments hem. She was healed instantaneously. Jesus, immediately perceiving that virtue had left his body, stopped and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
When she was identified, He spoke to her, and said, “ Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.“ Mark 5:34 While her need and hope also brought her there, her faith was demonstrated when she reach out.
Faith walks the miles.
Jairus left the side of his dying daughter to seek out Jesus. He walked the miles to find Him. Jesus and the crowd followed Jairus to the side of his daughter. It was in the midst of this crowd that Jesus stopped to find the woman with the issue of blood. I can only imagine the urgency of Jairus. I can only imagine how he felt as Jesus stopped to heal others. His need was so great. His hope was carrying him.
While Jesus was still talking to the woman, someone came from the house of Jairus with the devastating news, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the healer any longer.” How his heart must have fallen. Need and hope had brought him this far. Now they were cast aside. His ship was dashed on the rocks. He had come so far and now stood seemingly empty-handed. I do not know how close they were to the house. For all the miles he walked, when he heard his daughter was dead, were wasted. Jesus spoke to him, “Be not afraid, only believe.”
He stopped the throng. He allowed only Peter, James, and John to follow him. They entered the house of the ruler. The mourners were there. In these days, there were paid mourners. They were paid to come to the funerals of families to dramatize the loss. It is interesting that they were there, as is they were like vultures, awaiting the news so they could come and collect. They were feeders on death. Jesus asked them why they mourned, the child was but asleep. They mocked and scorned him. Jesus put them all out. With the mother and father, and his three disciples, he entered the room. He took the child’s hand and told her to rise. She sat up immediately and walked.
Faith takes you farther than need. Faith takes you farther than hope.
Faith casts the garment aside.
Bartimeus was blind. As a blind man in those days, he wore a garment which identified him as blind; much like the white cane with the red tip identifies blind people today. Bartimeus sat by the road begging. He heard that Jesus was passing by and he cried out to him. The crowd tried to quiet him, but he cried out the more. Jesus called for him. Bartimeus arose, cast aside his garment, and came to Jesus.
How many times have we asked Jesus for something but held on to the crutches of our infirmity?
There is so much negativism in the world today. Look at the news. Look at current events. We used to vote for the better of two choices, now we vote for the lesser of two evils. We fear to turn on the news because of the growing reports of violence daily. Society has stripped our citizenry of their value. We are just a cog in the wheel. We are numbers in the machine. As a citizen of Earth, I am 1 of 6,706,993,152. As a citizen of the United States, I am 1 of 307,942, 180. As a Kentuckian, I am 1 of 4,041,769. See how easy it is to get lost in the numbers. Even in the small town in which I live, I am less than 1/50th of 1% of the population. As a Child of God, we must guard against that devaluing.
Our faith takes us beyond the percentage of our life. When we exercise our faith, we walk into the throne room of the Most High God boldly. The paralytic, by numbers, was well outside the attention of God. Need, Hope, and Faith had brought him to the place where he could see the throng. He could possibly hear the teaching. He could make out the encouraging words and teachings of Jesus. Need, hope, and faith had brought him this far, but there was one more carrier.
We live in a TV society. Character and problems are introduced and solved in an hour. We microwave our food to reduce cooking time. We are in a hurry. If we don’t get the answer in an hour, we are ready to change channels.
Need, hope, and faith had brought this man to the place where he could hear the words of Jesus. He was so close, but not close enough. The swelling of the crowd restrained him. For all they had done, they could not get him into the house of Jesus or into his presence. There was one more carrier there that day, and his name was determination.
How many times have we stopped just short of a victory because we lacked the determination to take that extra step?
What would the man with the palsy have received if they stopped at the door?
How would he have gone home if he only got close enough to hear the words?
Need was the motivator. Hope was the enabler. Faith was the demonstrator. Determination was the finisher.
The race is not to the swift, but he that endures to the end. We are in an endurance run. We must be determined to outrun our doubts. We must be determined to go beyond our fears. We must be determined to exceed our disbelief.
It was determination that came up with the idea of going to the roof. It was determination that began removing tiles. It was determination that brought out the cords to lower the sick man into the presence of Jesus.
Four carried the one to the presence of Jesus. Four carried the one to deliverance. Four, working together, brought the paralytic to his life changing encounter.
Where will you stop?
Will you stop with a need?
Will you stop with hope?
Will you quit with faith?
We must be determined to go all the way. We must be determined to reach the end of our journey with Christ. We need the four to bring us to the place where our life will change.
Having the need will not bring us to Christ.
Having hope will not bring us to Christ.
Having faith alone will not always bring us to Christ.
Having a need, coupled with hope, linked with faith, pushed by determination, will bring us to Christ.