Mountains to Men: Reflections on Mark 2
Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic,carried by four men. 4 Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying.
5 Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Most of us are familiar with the whole idea of a mustard seed of faith to move a mountain. But how much faith does it take to move a man? Are mountains easier to move than men? According to this passage it took the faith of four to move a man! But because of their faith, this man’s life was changed and his eternal destiny along with it!
In Mark 2 the story of four very faithful friends is found. These four men of God and love got together to move a man. We can learn some very valuable lessons from them and their faith movement. Here are a few things I see from their lives of faith.
1) Men of Faith. These were men of faith. These men didn’t just talk about faith, or muse about faith, or dream about faith. They were men who moved forward in faith! Far too often we talk about plans and dreams and even pray for more faith or more things to do for God. All the while God and people are waiting for us to move in faith. Not every mountain is moved by prayer alone…sometimes it requires a backhoe or bulldozer! We have to be men and women of faith who move out in faith! Faith is only real in as much as it produces movement from those who possess it. If there is no movement from what we say we believe then we really don’t believe it!
These men not only possessed faith but expressed love through their faith. They had faith that Jesus could heal their friend. They had faith that if they walked and carried him that one day he could walk on his own. They had faith that with a little effort, none of their lives would be the same. Their faith carried them forward, their love moved them downward.
2) Motive of Faith. These men were not looking to be famous because of their faith. They didn’t do this to be recorded in the Bible. They did this because they loved their friend. Their faith was indeed strong which lead to a strong deed. But they would have to bend to make it possible. Sometimes it is easy to forget why we are doing what we are doing. We cannot forget that efforts of faith and for the Kingdom of God are not for ourselves but for others. This means there will be ocassions when we have to bend, move, and be flexible. Strength is not always found in just holding your ground but rather lifting someone off the ground!
There are some people who will never be able to get to Jesus apart from us bending over to help; apart from us stopping, stooping and stepping toward them, they will never get there on their own. These four men had great faith but greater love! As 1 Corinthians so vividly depicts: faith without love profits me nothing! Their motive was not faith itself. They were not trying to prove they had extreme faith. What they were proving was that they had extreme love! That was their motive of faith. That motive forced them to move.
3) Movement of Faith. These men demonstrated great faith and great love which forced them to move. Love is a movement. Faith is a movement. Life is a movement. We are constantly moving…but are we moving in faith? Many people say they have faith. But if there is never any movement can there really be faith? Faith forces us to move forward and downward and upward! Faith forwards us to the future God has already prepared for us and even for others! The paralyzed man was able to directly benefit from the faith and love his friends exhibited. When we are willing to move in obedience and love and willing to exercise our faith, there is no telling what God will do with us and through us that will directly affect and benefit others!
Even though this man’s life was greatly affected, this did not happen easily. The men encountered a few problems on the way. However, their faith was not diminished nor stunted. They moved upward when forward was not an option. Our focus is usually straight-foward but that doesn’t mean God won’t be doing something on the peripheral. We have to be willing to look around or above. When the path became obstructed they didn’t just try to overcome…they came in a different way. They moved up and out in order to move forward.
If there is anything I can learn from these four men and challenge you with it is that we must be people who are willing to move: move in faith, move forward, move downward, move with God! When we do we can be men and women of faith who not only move mountains but others to Christ!