Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Stronger Together

01 October 2023

Four people, holding each other, with backs to the camera looking towards a view. The sun is behind them.

 

By Miranda Lester

It is no secret that as humans, we were created for relationships.  Our primary relationship is to be with our Heavenly Father.  Secondary relationships include those in our families and those we allow to be in our inner circle of friends and so on.  We are all similar in the fact that deep, meaningful relationships are necessary.  Godly relationships are a priority for a successful Christian walk.  Not only do each of us need these stable relationships for ourselves, but we should strive to embody that position for others.  Unfortunately, there are people in the body of Christ who do not have secure relationships anchored in Christ.  Some individuals prefer to live a life in solitude, but the Bible clearly shares that we need relationships.  Let’s look at one example together.

 

In the fifth chapter of the book of Luke, we read an excellent account of friendship.  Word was spreading about Jesus and we are told that one day, while Jesus was teaching, “many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door” (Mark 2:2).  The story might be familiar to you.  Some men came carrying a paralysed man on a sleeping mat.  The men tried to walk their friend to Jesus, but the crowd was simply too large.  Many individuals would have shrugged their shoulders and shaken their heads while eyeing one another, mumbling, “at least we tried. What can we do?”

 

These were NOT men who were easily discouraged.  We read that these men went up to the roof, removed tiles, and made a hole through which they could lower their paralysed friend on his sleeping mat so he would be positioned in front of Jesus.  In these times, houses were built of stone and had flat roofs made of mud and straw.  Outside stairways provided access to the rooftop.  These men were not afraid of the repercussions associated with accessing someone’s rooftop and modifying their home without permission.

 

After a hole was created in the roof, the paralysed man was lowered down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  Verse 20 says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, ‘Young man, your sins are forgiven.’”  In verse 25 we see that the man picked up his mat and went on his way home, praising God.  Interestingly, it wasn’t the paralysed man’s faith that impressed Jesus, but the faith of his friends.  Jesus responded to their faith and healed the paralysed man.  Godly relationships are crucial!  Each of us will have times in our lives (if we haven’t already) when we need to lean on the faith of others and have them stand strong with us.

 

As members of the body, it is important that we support differing members.  It is impossible to be “everything to everyone,” however, we can be the friend pulling up the roof tiles for someone.  Those are the friends I desire to have in my life, and that is the type of friend I strive to be.  If we look at the Bible reference, these were close friends of the paralysed man.  Only close friends would have the compassion and drive to lead them to dig a hole in a roof.  Imagine being the paralysed man lying on the sleeping mat.  Your emotions are swirling because you were filled with anticipation at seeing Jesus, yet disappointment and doubt are trying to rule.  You turn your head to see four grown men, your friends, on their knees scooping, prying up dirt roof tiles.  You know you will get your opportunity to be healed by Jesus because of the determination and zeal of your friends.

 

Intentionally or not, our faith, our actions and our words affect others. Just as the human body has many parts that operate in unison, so it is with the body of Christ.  Our lives will affect others either consciously or unconsciously, just like the men in the story.  Daily opportunities arise for us to spur others on in faith, stand in agreement with brothers and sisters in Christ, and speak encouragement!  I pray we never pass these opportunities by, but seek daily to be ‘those’ friends so we can all be stronger together