Recently we were coming home from school talking about another “friend issue”. This issue involved a friend of one of my children who had suddenly decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore. This may have happened to you or you may have had a BFF(best friend forever) who out of nowhere started to ignore or avoid you like you had the plague. When you’ve been de-friended it makes you wonder about this whole friend thing.
This is why I love the Bible so. Need examples of what it means to be a friend, open the word of God and the answer is in front of your face. My favorite friend story comes from the book of Mark. By the second chapter of Mark, Jesus has been traveling, preaching and healing and then we find him home (maybe Peter’s home-we don’t know for sure).
He has drawn quite a crowd. It says that there is no room even outside the door. The story tells of four men carrying a paralyzed man. If you have known of someone being paralyzed, you know that they are unable to walk and sometimes even move on their own.
So when the men arrive to see Jesus and find that they are unable to get their friend through the crowd, disappointed they go home, right? No! Verse four tells us “since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on”. Are you trying to picture this? I’m wondering what the crowd thought.
The people had been waiting to see Jesus and then these men have the nerve to force their way in. And what about the house owner who probably didn’t have roof insurance; these men were on a mission. The best part of this story comes when it says that when Jesus saw THEIR faith the sins of the paralyzed man were forgiven; he was spiritually healed. THEIR faith! I want friends like that!
Too many times we look out for ourselves. These men were not thinking of themselves. They saw a friend with a need and they were determined take him to Jesus. I know it couldn’t have been easy carrying this man onto the roof. I can’t imagine the crowd being too happy. They risked being rejected. Yet being a friend in action they selflessly carried on.
This man might have never known Jesus or the healing that comes on from him had it not been for these friends. It was their action and their trust that lead to this man’s spiritual healing and after his physical healing. This man was able to walk home.
You probably come across people in your school every day that need a friend to carry them. Not pick them up literally, but encourage them. Point them to Jesus. Sometimes this just means being like Jesus to someone who is in the dumps. Many times people feel paralyzed and stuck. They may have family problems, or they’ve had a rough morning, or maybe their friend has just dropped them like a hotcake. I bet you know the feeling.
Being a friend in action is where real friendships are made. Have FAITH that as you friend those in need that God will create friendships for you. We all want the the status of being someone’s best friend. Everybody wants the invite to the sleepover on Friday night. But can you put your own interests aside? Like the men we read about can you be an over the top friend?
- In a recent devotion, you read that “a friend loves at all times”. Do you think this means we should only love those we call our friends or everyone?
(This verse is describing what kind of person a friend is. It is someone who always loves. I wonder if you could insert the word “Christian” in place of the word “friend”.)
- This man on the mat had two problems. What were they?
- Do you think it was easy to be this man’s friend? Remember that much like today back then people with physical and mental handicaps were not accepted in society.
- Do you think it was easy to get him to Jesus?
- How can you be an over the top friend?