The Four Friends: Unnamed Heroes of the Bible
“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.” - Mark 2:3-4 (NIV)
Word was getting around that a new Teacher had emerged onto the scene in Israel. Some said that He was just stirring up trouble, but others knew there was something different— something special—about this man. For thirty years He had kept to himself, living with His parents and plying his (earthly) father’s trade as a carpenter. But the time had come for Him to show the world who He truly was.
Rumours were spreading that this man was more than just a teacher. He had power to heal the sick and perform miracles. He had turned water into wine at a wedding celebration in Cana. The guests of this wedding were saying that this miracle-wine was the best tasting wine of the day! There were also sick people—lepers, paralytics, blind, deaf, and so many more—who said they had been healed by this man. His name was Jesus, they said. And there was something about Him that you just had to come and see.
After his wine-making miracle, Jesus left Galilee to spend some time in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t long before he returned to the place of his first miracle: Cana. The people welcomed him back to their hometown, expectant for what was to come. But there was one man in Cana who was desperate to get Jesus’ attention. He was a Royal Official, a high-ranking member of society, whose son was sick and close to dying. Ordinarily, this man might have stayed away from Jesus and the crowds that he drew, wanting to maintain his status and reputation as a member of the elite class. But when it comes to our children, we will do anything to protect them.
So when this Royal Official heard that Jesus had come into town, he went to meet him and begged him to come and heal his son. He had heard stories of Jesus healing the sick, but this time it was personal. Jesus said to him, “Your son will live.” And so it happened, that at the exact moment Jesus said these words, the son was restored to full health.
When Jesus was in Capernaum, his power was on display for many people to see. A man who was demonized was set free in the synagogue. Simon (later known as Peter) had a mother-in-law who Jesus healed from a high fever. Word got around quickly, and that evening many people brought their sick friends and family members to Jesus for him to heal them. Many demonized people were also set free that night. On another occasion, Jesus healed a man with leprosy, even reaching out and touching him (something you didn’t do in those days).
He had long lived in obscurity, but there was no escaping the attention of the people now for Jesus.
We now come to the four friends in Mark 2. They also had heard all the things Jesus was doing and saying. Could it really be true? Could this man really heal the sick? One thing was for sure: they had to find out! You see, they had a friend who was completely paralysed. We don’t know whether he had had an accident one day, or if he was born with some kind of disability. But life was hard for this man. He was a liability. He couldn’t act normally. He needed lifting and laying. He needed feeding. He needed cleaning. It wasn’t pretty or enjoyable; it was a pain. He relied on the help of his friends to bring him supplies and carry him where he needed to go. If there was any hope of healing, it was worth a shot!
The time had come; Jesus was in town. So the four men got their friend onto a mat and began carrying him to the location Jesus was said to be. But it wasn’t long before their excitement would have turned to disappointment. They were late to the party! Crowds of people had flocked to see Jesus. People had come from all over Galilee, as well as Judea and Jerusalem. There was no way they would be able to get face-to-face with Jesus now.
But such was their belief in God and their concern for their friend that they were prepared to do anything to help him. They didn’t have modern equipment (or insurance!). But they had the assurance that Jesus could heal the sick, restore blind eyes, and make the lame walk.
So they came up with a bold plan. They carried their friend up onto the roof of the house and began to lower him through the roof tiles into the crowd below. They may have even torn their own garments to produce makeshift ropes. Imagine the sight! The place was packed full of people, and suddenly there are screams as they roof begins to open. They think the place is falling apart, but then a man appears being lowered through the ceiling. The crowd shuffled around as this paralyzed man descended into their midst.
Jesus saw their faith. He was moved by the fact that they trusted him enough and had the courage to see this plan through. Jesus first tells the man that his sins are forgiven, a statement that provokes the minds of the religious leaders. Then Jesus says to him, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” The man was immediately healed and went home glorifying God. The people were amazed at the power and authority of Jesus.
We usually focus on the interaction between this man and Jesus, but let’s not forget the role of the four friends. They are easily forgotten, but without them this miracle would have never taken place. The paralyzed man would never have been brought to Jesus, and without their bold faith he never would have found himself with front-row tickets to the main event.
These four friends, though nameless in history, are forever recorded in God’s Word for all of us to see. We never hear of them again; they had no fame or fortune, no platforms or big ministries, but their impact cannot be understated. We will never know their names, until we get the chance to ask after them in heaven. Perhaps they brought more of their friends to Jesus over the years. Maybe their testimony helped many others find faith in Christ. All we know for sure is that they were noticed by God.
We can all gain confidence from this story. Most of us don’t lead big ministries or churches and probably don’t have thousands of followers. You might feel nameless and faceless in this chaotic world. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have on the lives of those around you.
Who are the friends you have that are sick, lost, or hurting? How can you pick them up and carry them to the feet of Jesus? If we’ll ever get near enough Jesus, and believe, nothing is impossible. You will never know the miracles that might occur or the ripple effect of your decision until you choose to step out in bold faith, trusting that Jesus has the solution.
Let these four friends inspire you to action. Exercise the gift of helps. And see what God will do.
This content was taken from Unnamed Heroes of the Bible. Get the free e-book by signing up below.