January 18, 2021
The Value of Friendship - Mark 2 1:12
In the gospel of Mark 2 1:12, the story is recounted of a paralyzed man who is healed and forgiven by Jesus. The account begins with Jesus preaching to an extremely large overflowing crowd in Capernaum. Four friends of a paralyzed man, determined that their friend would see Jesus, dug a hole in the roof and lowered the man on his mat. Jesus impressed by the faith and tenacity of the paralyzed man and his friends said “Son, your sins are forgiven”. The teachers of the law took issue with the words of forgiveness Jesus used believing that they were blasphemous. Jesus expressed to them that as the Son of Man he had the authority on earth to forgive as well as heal. He then told the paralyzed man “…take your mat and go home” and the paralyzed man walked out in full view of all and everyone was amazed and praised God.
A highlight of this gospel for me are the friends that surround this paralyzed man. Their creativity, action, support, and faith were awe inspiring. If we were incapacitated in some way, can we think of friends that would remove all roadblocks to bring us to Jesus? If yes, it is indeed a blessing and we should nourish and pray for those relationships. If not, what blessings are we missing without those friendships.
In our current age we may define friendships by the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Quantity seems to define successful relationships rather than quality. These measures are also seen in our church life, where we are constantly computing the number of people in church or the decline in attendance, rather than the quality of the experience in our services.
Have you invited a friend to Jesus at your church? If not, what is in the way, is it the preaching, the music, the politics, are people not welcoming, are you just complacent? As part of our Evangelism ministry, collectively we can share these observations and work to improve our outreach.
As we ponder these relationships, our hymn reminds us of the constant friend we do have in Jesus.
This blog is part of a series for the Good Book Club. Learn more about the Good Book Club here.