Whatever It Takes
A few weeks ago (September 7: Touching Jesus part 2 – Perhaps you’d like to reread it at BillyHuddleston.com) we began a journey with some men that needed to get their friend to Jesus. Touching Jesus was all that mattered. So, let’s jump back into the story:
“And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd . . .”
They start their journey. Gently—but firmly—they each take a corner of the mat that’s connected to wooden poles and lift. They begin to carry this man to the place where Jesus is. How far did they have to walk? Was it a few blocks or a few miles?
Obviously, the distance wasn’t a concern to them. The issue? Get to Jesus! Their arms become fatigued. Pain sears through their lower backs, and they’re realizing how difficult it is to carry a human across rocky paths,
down dusty roads,
and through narrow streets.
Finally, they reach the home.
Now, their hearts sink.
They see the house. And they see the crowd spilling out the door and huddling around the windows. How will they ever get inside? They realize the nature of the crowd and the stature of a paralytic. They have to try.
Jesus was in the house!
Touching Him is all that matters.
They edge their way to the door.
Desperation has now become personified.
It’s their heartbeat. It’s the sweat on their brows.
It’s the agony piercing through their strained muscles.
They inch their way along the outside, but the crowd is ruthless. Someone screams, “Hey! We were here first.”
Another, “If we could move forward, we would! We can barely see and hear what’s going on. So, stop pushing.”
They can’t get in.
They don’t give up.
Desperation’s heartbeat only pulsates faster.
Rocks inside their open-foot sandals have rubbed their feet raw.
Their palms, sweaty and burdened from the weight, slip on the poles holding the mat. The four men tighten their grip and clench their teeth in conjunction with the muscle spasms. They are burden bearers.
Jesus is in the house!
They will not give up.
Desperation is alive.
“. . . they uncovered the roof where He was . . .” (Mark 2:4)
They exert the effort to carefully carry this man up the stairs toward the flat roof. Desperation pushes each one of the eight individual feet up each stair.
The mat hits the wall.
One of the four men trips.
Regaining their balance, they continue up the stairs until finally reaching the roof. They’re actually on top of the house!
Let’s watch as they lay this man down. No time is wasted. They immediately spring into action. They’re surveying the roof trying to find the exact location where Jesus is teaching. It wouldn’t do any good to lower him toward the back or middle of the house. They’ve already seen the crowd’s response. That won’t be good enough. They need to get to Jesus!
When they find where He is, their action continues as they begin to “unroof” the roof. With their bare hands they begin prying loose the tiles.
It’s hard work.
It’s painful work.
Nails are turned back.
Flesh is sliced as they uncover the roof.
But the price is worth the cost as they work to get this man, this burden to Jesus.
“So when they had broken through. . . .” (Mark 2:4)
When the tiles are removed, the thatch that makes up the roof is exposed. They will not allow this barrier to stop them.
Jesus is in the house.
Touching Him is all that matters.
On all fours—and with Navy Seal Team Six precision—they begin to remove the barrier. With bare hands they dig. And they dig. And they dig.
Can you imagine being on the inside of the house at this point? You’re captivated by Jesus presence. You’re hanging on every word. Then, you begin to hear scratching from the roof. Squirrels? Raccoons?
You try to ignore it when something suddenly hits your shoulder. You brush it away as another piece hits you on the head. What in the . . . All of a sudden, another piece hits the ground as light begins to shine down. Your attention is now focused upward as you watch dust particles in the light coming from a hole in the roof!
The roof is caving in. The crowd pushes back as you see four sets of hands tearing through the roof; four sets of hands digging through until they begin to lower a mat right to the feet of Jesus.
“. . . they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:4)
Hanging over the edge of the hole, they begin to carefully lower this man to Jesus’ feet.
Jesus was in the house.
Touching Him was all that mattered.
When the crowd wouldn’t let them through the door,
they uncovered the roof.
They had to get to the Artist.
What an incredible picture.
What beautiful desperation.
We have a lot to consider with this, don’t we? First of all, these four men give us a magnificent picture of genuine friendship. They also demonstrate their willingness to be burden bearers. And they display an intense desperation to have a legitimate encounter with Jesus.
We also learn a lot from the paralyzed man’s situation. When it seemed impossible for him to get to Jesus, Jesus moved the right men into his life to bring him to the Great Physician.
Can you relate?
It’s about you.
At times does it feel as though the distance between you and Jesus is just too far? The journey too difficult? The odds stacked against you are too high?
That’s why sometimes we need a little help from friends.
Real friends will move you closer to Jesus.
Whatever it takes.