The Importance of Community

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 5:19-20

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We don’t know how this man came to be paralyzed, how long he had been disabled and how much he had suffered—but we do know his buddies desperately wanted to get him in front of Jesus so he might be healed. And when they couldn’t get into the crowded house where Jesus was teaching, they came up with a crazy scheme to crawl up on the roof and remove enough tiles to make a hole to let their friend down into the house.

I’ve always been amazed at the audacity of these guys—to tear into someone’s roof like that. That’s just ridiculous. They obviously knew Jesus would be leaving the house at some point but clearly didn’t want to risk the chance that they would miss Him. They knew Jesus was stuck in the corner of a room and if they lowered their friend down on a mat in front of Him, He would have no choice but to stop teaching and deal with the man laying a mat suspended in front on Him.

I wish we had a YouTube clip of this. I wonder if people were covered in ceiling dust. I wonder if Jesus laughed. I wonder if the owner of the house knew about this plan to rip open his roof. We don’t know—but one thing we do know is that when Jesus saw this man’s friends’ ridiculous behavior, he recognized it as pisteuo. Jesus forgave the sins of the paralyzed man, and ultimately healed him physically as well. 

As modern-day Americans, Jesus’ response might bother us a bit because it doesn’t fit nicely into our tidy theological box. The paralyzed guy didn’t ask Jesus “into His heart.” He didn’t make Jesus "his personal Savior and Lord.” He didn’t really have time to do anything but lay there on a mat—and Jesus healed the man because of the pisteuo of his friends.

When I wrote my first blog post a few weeks ago, the response from our friends was overwhelming. Many of you didn’t know Amy had been suffering—and that’s because we didn’t tell you. No one wants to be the sick person. No one wants to be that paralyzed guy—just awkwardly laying there on his mat suspended in front of Jesus. No one wants to advertise the fact that they have a disease that creates a painful fat nodules in their legs that makes them feel ugly. So we didn’t talk about Amy’s sickness much. Maybe that’s pride on our part, I don’t know.

But one thing I’ve learned from this event in Luke Five is how important it is to have friends who have pisteuo. We are hard-wired for community. We need one another. We need the encouragement, love, and support from one another—especially in difficult times.

Thank you, dear friends, for your outlandish and extravagant display of support and encouragement. Thank you for phone calls, offers to help, and cards. We are thankful for our church, for our small group, for our families and friends from around the world. We are blessed beyond measure to be recipients of your Christ-like love.

And thank you most of all for being the kind of friends who carry Amy to Jesus through prayers of pisteuo. I think tearing the roof off the house really demonstrated the paralyzed man’s friends’ pisteuo. It’s over the top (no pun intended) and radical. There’s no going back. Let’s tear the roof off the house together!

Throughout the Gospels we see that Jesus loves it when we place all our hope, all our trust, all our confidence in Him alone. This is pisteuo. Being a follower of Jesus is more about relying on Him for everything than getting an ‘A’ on Heaven’s Theological Entrance Exam.* 

I believe your pisteuo in Jesus will change not only Amy’s life, but yours as well.

* There is none.

Rick Mumford