Mark 2 contains one of my favorite accounts of what happened during Jesus’ life on earth. I love how these unnamed friends were so bold! They were friends of faith and their faith was in Jesus.

Jesus was in Capernaum, considered His home as He regularly returned there throughout His ministry. Capernaum is around twenty miles from Nazareth, and both are in Galilee. 

In Mark chapter 1 Jesus taught in the synagogue at Capernaum and, while teaching, healed a man with an evil spirit. “They were all amazed so that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits and they obey him” (Mark 1:27).

After teaching in the synagogue, Jesus went to Andrew and Peter’s house and healed Peter’s mother-in-law. In verses 32 to 34 it says, “When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered by the door. So he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons.”

When people heard Jesus was back in town, a big crowd gathered. Luke’s Gospel explained how Pharisees and teachers of the law from every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem were present (see Luke 5:17). There was no space in the house or around the door. Everyone was listening to Jesus’ preaching. 

Into this already packed situation a group of friends arrived, four of them carrying a man who was disabled and unable to walk. They couldn’t get near Jesus. I love their problem-solving solution to go up onto the flat roof (there were usually outdoor steps) and remove some of the roof tiles (see Luke 5:19) so they could lower their friend down in front of Jesus. 

They didn’t know how Jesus was going to react. But they had faith that bringing their friend to Jesus was what they needed to do. They were right. Jesus saw their faith and responded. This man’s biggest need was dealt with – his sins were forgiven. 

If I was one of the friends I’d have been disappointed that my friend hadn’t been physically healed. But this was the whole point of why Jesus came to earth – to provide a way for sinners, like us, to be forgiven. Jesus did heal the man physically to prove His authority to forgive sins. But this story is a reminder that we often get so concerned with temporal things that we miss what matters eternally. 

I want you to consider the friends and family in your life, those who don’t yet know Jesus. Often our thinking is, it’d be great if someone was able to reach them for Christ! However, God has placed you in their life to be part of their journey to Him!

First, we should pray for them. There are also many opportunities to share God in everyday life. You may be able to share part of how God has transformed your life or what He is teaching you. You might be able to share your failures and reflect on God’s grace. You can ask questions about what they believe or answer questions they have about Christianity. Every conversation shouldn’t always be turned around to talking about God, but neither should none of your conversations include God! 

There will also be opportunities to practically show love, just as these friends carried their friend to Jesus, so the love poured out by God in your life overflows into others. As it says in Colossians 4:5-6, “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.”

What about your relationships with other Christians? Are you willing to bring them to Jesus? There are some Christian friends and family that we’re happy to talk to about anything but what really matters! I am so thankful for friends who not only pray for me but with whom I can have conversations about God. It’s such an encouragement as our time together reflects Proverbs 27:17, which says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend.” Also, I continue to sin and am blessed to have friends who care enough to lovingly help me to see my sin and overcome it by bringing me back to Jesus.  

I love talking with other Christians about God because of the grace He has lavished on me. I enjoy talking about what we’ve been learning, over coffee, in Bible study groups, one on one, or on Sundays after church. However, being married to the minister of our local church has made that last one more challenging! We are called to “encourage one another and build up each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). As Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God.” 

I challenge you, and myself, to consider: Are you the kind of woman of God who seeks to overcome whatever difficulties, to bring your friends and family to Jesus, knowing that it is the only place where they can find what they really need?

 

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Julie McIlhatton

Julie McIlhatton

Julie McIlhatton lives in the beautiful Northern Ireland with her lovely husband and two fantastic boys. She is blessed to be able to be a stay at home mum and be involved in different ministries at her church. In her free time she likes to watch movies, play board games, and go for walks (when it’s not raining!). She enjoys listening to music of various kinds and is amazed at how much easier the right music makes mundane tasks, like cleaning. She is acutely aware of God’s undeserved love and grace lavished on her. In response, she seeks to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

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