This past week, my friend Jonathan and I hosted the weekly Bible study we do together, Bible Study With Rocc (he’s Rocc, I just roll with it). If you missed it, keep a look out for the video—we’ll be posting it soon. The lesson came from Luke 5:17-26 and we called it “Five Guys” …for the four guys carrying the man on the mat and the man on the mat.
In our prep time, Jonathan and I uncovered several aspects from which to approach this scripture. We settled on the relational approach. During our back and forth, the Holy Spirit revealed a few things—many of which didn’t even make it into the Bible study conversation. When we stumbled across what you’re about to read, I said, “This might be my next blog! You can use it…but I’m still gonna write it.”
Jon used it, and here we are.
The story of the paralyzed man being healed does not expressly state that these men who carried him were his friends. We come to this conclusion because of what they cared about; and consequently, what they couldn’t have cared less about.
Well how do you know what they did or did not care about? Funny you should ask. There’s a simple axiom that explains it all: “Actions speak louder than words.”
These four men demonstrated what was important to them. These are characteristics we should desire to see in our circle of friends and that we should possess ourselves.
…especially if we identify as followers of Jesus.
What They Cared About
THE MAN — These guys cared about the man on the mat. We know, because they carried him. Some so called friends won’t even pick you up and give you a ride to the same place they’re headed, if you stay too far out of the way. These men carried him.
Scripture tells us to bear one another’s burdens. Your burden becomes my burden because you are my sister or my brother.
Galatians 6:2 | “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We should care enough about each other to help each other out.
HIS SITUATION — The man on the mat was paralyzed. These four men were not. It’s not that they took on his situation as their own—they didn’t, they could still walk. But they cared that he was paralyzed. This is why they carried him. They didn’t tell him about Jesus’ house revival and leave him behind. What they did was inconvenience themselves to accommodate the situation he was in.
They could have walked faster without him. In our society, we’re faced with several scenarios like this one. Scenarios in which we, as individuals or collectively, could move ahead faster and through the world with greater ease, but the cost is leaving someone else behind. Followers of Jesus should care enough about the situations of others not leave them behind, just for the sake of expediency.
HIS HEALING — We know these four men cared about the paralyzed man’s healing, because of where they took him. The gospel accounts detail that Jesus had been moving through the region with a healing spirit on Him. Healing was available and these men took their friend (whose situation they cared about) to the feet of Jesus.
James 2:14-16 | “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
What good would it have been to know the man can’t walk, know there’s a man who can heal him, and not take him to see the man who can heal him? Spoiler alert: no good. No good at all.
Yet, many of us are content with the existence of mere availability of the resources to meet people’s needs and have no interest in granting the people in need access to those resources. That’s dead faith. Good friends and followers of Jesus care about others actually being made well.
HIS WELL BEING — There is a difference in being made well and well being. Being made well can happen in an instant or over a brief period of time. Well being is an ongoing status.
I want friends who are interested in my ongoing and continued wellness. Not friends who are only interested in me when I am well.
People who are comfortable throwing others away because they are not well do not represent Jesus. This is true of societies and individuals. We should care about the well being of those we call friends and neighbors.
HIS FUTURE — Seeing the paralyzed man lay on his mat was not a condition these four men were prepared to watch him endure for the rest of his life, if they could help it. I have no problem imagining that these men may have routinely took care of him. I mean, if they were willing to carry him and bust a hole through someone’s rooftop, they probably did his grocery shopping too.
Still, while continuing to do these good deeds for their friend, they hoped for something better for him. We know they cared about his future because they risked it all to offer him a life change.
What They Didn’t Care About
THE CROWD — The story tells us that there were so many people at this house, where Jesus was, that they couldn’t get in through the door. They didn’t see the crowd and turn around, forsaking the needs of their friend. They persisted in spite of the crowd. They went around the crowd to get this man to the feet of Jesus.
We cannot be good friends, neighbors, or followers of Jesus if a crowd can keep us from doing whatever it takes to do what is right.
THE OBSTACLES — Crowds and popular opinion aren’t the only things that may stand in our way. Systems, structures, traditions, rules, regulations, protocol… all of these things can stand as obstacles to being good friends, neighbors, and followers of Jesus.
When Jesus showed up for His appointment with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well (John 4), He violated a long standing tradition to even speak to her, much less make the request that would spark the conversation what would change her life forever.
Jesus is the kind of friend I aspire to be.
PROPERTY OVER THE PERSON — I know.. I know… this one is unpopular in some circles; possibly even yours. But I’m only going where the story went. I’m still with the text! Lol
If you are in your home right now, look up. Is there a hole in your ceiling? I’m guessing not. Well this house didn’t have a hole in the roof either. These four men deconstructed the roof to lower their friend down to the feet of Jesus.
I’m not saying this happened without consequence. The story doesn’t say. I assure you, if you destroy property for the sake of another, there is going to be a cost to be paid. But there are matters in which our care, concern, and compassion for people should compel us out of our comfort zones and into the fray.
When the question is asked, “Who cares?”, will it be you?
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.