The Faith of Four Friends

Mark 2: 1-12
1 Sm 8:4-7,10-22a/Ps 89:16-19

“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins,” he then addressed the man with paralysis, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat and go home.”
(Mark 2:10-11)

Belief that knows no obstacle
Shall not be paralyzed by fear;
All things in life are possible
For those who love and persevere.

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So He said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12)


Clearly, the faith of the paralytic’s friends lay in stark contrast to the doubts of the scribes, who questioned our Lord’s authority to forgive sins. While the paralytic had obeyed Jesus’ command and stood to go home, the scribes remained paralyzed in their skepticism and unbelief. Despite the innumerable cures and exorcisms that Jesus performed before He left Capernaum, displaying His authority over evil spirits, over sickness, over nature, etc. the scribes still questioned His authority to forgive sins. This was because of their lack of faith. They refused to believe, even if the truth was already staring them in the face. It was the opposite in the case of the four men who refused to be cowed by obstacles in order to bring their friend to the healing power of Jesus. They believed that if there’s a will, there’s a way, even if they had to pay for the damages later.

Faith demands action. St. James said, “What good is it if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?… I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” (Jam.2:14,18) The four friends of the paralytic were motivated into action because of their compassion for their sick friend. They wanted him to be restored back to his normal life. Jesus was moved by their faith and His compassion for the paralytic. He forgave the man’s sins first because He knew the paralytic needed forgiveness more than healing. God knows what we need more than we do.

Many of us are not abiding by God’s will when we doubt our capability to complete an assigned task. But it is only when we take action that God’s grace will be manifested in our life. 1 Corinthians 13 says that “Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.” This means we must remain open to what the Lord will accomplish in our life, and persevere in faith.

We place ourselves in Your hands, O Lord, that we may receive Your grace. Amen.

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