This is when a lot of people would assess the situation and think- "Oh, it’ll wait until tomorrow. Another time. No hurry. We don’t need to see Jesus today." But being with Jesus is not a moment to miss. The friends of the paralyzed man were bold in faith and in friendship. They were ready to break through any barrier in order to present their friend to Jesus… even if it meant being impractical, or disappointing their neighbors or their families… even if it meant creating a bit of a mess in life… making things a bit chaotic or disordered…
You probably know what happens next. The men climbed to the roof, carrying their friend. They hacked through the tiles and straw and wood, probably raining down debris on those inside the house below. They kept it up until their was hole big enough to get their friend through… all this even while the crowd yelled at them to stop— can you imagine the owner of the house! “Hey, what are you doing! Stop!! You jerks! You’re ripping through my roof!” Or imagine their friends… “Stop! What are you doing! You can’t do that!” Or the mom! Can you imagine the mom of one of these guys?! No good son would rip through the roof of someone’s house. But their faith in Jesus and their friendship with one another was their priority.
So eventually, despite all the obstacles, they lowered their friend to Jesus. And the rest is an amazing story. Jesus doesn’t care about the mess… he doesn’t care about the hecklers… he doesn’t care about the clamoring people… Jesus loves those who come before him committing to one another in his name. Jesus sees their faith and hope and love and he is moved to meet them there. Jesus must have thought to himself, “You know what, I’d break through every barrier for you guys too!” He forgives the man of any of his wrongs. He blesses the friends. He shuts up those who scoff. And he heals the paralyzed friend… who jumps up and… get this… leaps through the crowd- as if the Red Sea had just parted in awe of the love and power of the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ.
I share this because I see some analogies in this event that will encourage your life of marriage. Analogies of faith and friendship–
1. The first analogy is that life can become crowded. There will be
people and things that will try to crowd into your relationship.
Living in Calgary, you know this. Life is busy… and it doesn’t seem to
slow down as you go through marriage. A new home, jobs, bills, cars,
social activities, someday kids and diapers and bicycles and sports and
school and on and on and on. Not to mention, friends and family and
people that you will want to spend time with. All of this crowding…
good or bad… all these important things and all these important
deadlines and important plans and all these important people and all
these important events… All of this crowding can make it difficult for
a marriage to keep the vibrancy that brought you together… Your faith
and your friendship.
2. The second analogy is that you can’t allow crowding to get in the
way. Your loving commitment for one another must outweigh every noun
in your life. Every person, place, thing or idea needs to be second
behind your faith in Jesus and your friendship with each other. Two
many marriages get crowded and then respond with an “Oh, it can wait
until tomorrow” or “Someday we’ll get our priorities straight.” Many
marriages also give in to the fear of letting others down, those
outside of their marriage. Pressures of work, pressures of family
expectations, pressures from life… all these important things can
create fear in a couple to do whatever it takes to fight for one
another and to help each other and to present each other before Jesus.
And so many couples resign to their crowding and just try to keep going
on their own… more and more removed from the vibrant presence of Jesus…
less and less of a deep commitment for one another. I say be bold in
your faith and friendship. Don’t allow crowding to stop you! Do
whatever you can to be there for each other and to be with Jesus. Even
if it means doing something that would have seemed crazy… don’t allow
crowding into your marriage.
3. The third analogy is just as powerful. Enjoy the blessings God
gives you as a result of your faith and friendship. Seeking and
finding and being with Jesus… no matter what it takes… results in the
Good News for you. In the love of Jesus is your love for each other.
As you come closer to Jesus together you come closer to each other. As
you fight in this life to continually bring yourselves to him, your
love for each other will be rewarded and will experience unimaginable
joy. You will leap through things you didn’t know you could walk
through! Jesus will meet you where you meet him. Heaven will
intersect with your marriage. In the love of Jesus is the forgiveness
you need and the forgiveness you will need to give to each other. In
the love of Jesus is healing and joy. In the love of Jesus is his
honor and respect and his support and his encouragement and his
sustaining, releasing power. Nothing in life is too big of an obstacle
against marriage for the couple that puts their faith and friendship
May God empower you today to live in faith and to live in friendship
through what can be a crowded life. May his eye gleam as he sees you
coming to him. May his words breathe love upon you today. And may his
hand shower you with his blessing. Amen.