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THE FIVE FRIENDS



 

Early in Jesus’ ministry, the clamoring crowds “brought to him all those who were sick and demon-possessed. The whole town was assembled at the door, and he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons”(Mark 1:32–34). When “it was reported that he was at home … so many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway” (Mark 2:1-2).

 

Notice who was in the audience. “Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem” (Luke 5:17).

 

Some of the religious leaders travelled the dusty roads because they wanted to see the Messiah. Surely, they thought, this miracle-working intenerate rabbi is the Promised One! Others weren’t so sure… but they were curious. Still others of the religionists, filled with pride and jealousy, came to find fault. They were hoping to find a good reason to persuade the growing crowds that Jesus was evil. All of them, packed in the tiny room like sardines in a can, watched and waited.

 

That’s when five friends came to pay Jesus a visit.

 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record the story of the five friends … four men carried their paralyzed buddy (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26). When they arrived, presumably at the home of Simon Peter, Jesus was teaching to the packed house. Because they couldn’t get in the door or through the windows, they climbed to the roof, ripped open a hole, and lowered the stretcher to Jesus. Looking up at the four and “seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ ” (Mark 2:5)

 

Seeing the paralyzed man stand, roll up his mat, and dance out of the room, many were

“astounded, and they were giving glory to God. And they were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen incredible things today’ ” (Luke 5:26). The faithless were “thinking evil things in your hearts” (Matthew 9:4). “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 9:6).

 

Some accepted. Some rejected. Some followed Him. Others refused. But none forgot what they had seen. So, I wonder, what became of these men and women who witnessed this display of God’s grace?

 

“… think on these things” (Philippians 4:8, KJV).




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