“Four men, Jesus and a paralytic.” It almost sounds like the beginning of a punch line—but it’s not! Found in Mark 2:1-12, it is one of my favorite stories in Scripture, in which Jesus miraculously heals a paralyzed man.
We sometimes see this as just a feel-good story—simply another miracle. We focus our attention purely on the miraculous, but rarely do we step back to identify the small steps necessary in order for the miraculous to take place. One of the things I love about this story is that these four men remind me of four key factors involved in bringing people to Jesus.
- Relationship – These men took the initiative to build relationship with the paralytic man. More often than not, we wait for a paralyzed world to come to us.
- Creativity – Conventional ways would not work—they had to think outside the box! It is important to remember that solutions may not look exactly like we thought they would.
- Cost – The moment they decided to tear a “man sized” hole in the roof, it cost them something: not only the time it would take to make repairs when the gathering was over, but also the money for the supplies.
- Risk – Their reputations were on the line. What would have happened if, as dirt clods from the mud roof fell on Jesus’ head, the “Money Changer Jesus” responded? You know—the Jesus who overturned tables and yelled at people. These four men risked being humiliated in front of their friends and family—but the risk was worth the reward.
We often try to shortchange the process, expecting God to simply do the miraculous with no effort on our part. These four men remind us that God is in the small steps! Those small steps are key to bringing people into the presence of Jesus. In this case, without the small steps, the miraculous would not have taken place.
Prayer Focus: What relationships do you have with people who don’t know Jesus? Let’s pray that God will open our eyes to those people around us and give us the creativity and courage to think outside the box in order to develop relationships no matter the cost or risk.
By: Ryan Coffey, senior pastor of lifehouse in San Antonio, Tex.