Visiting an Ancient City

Staff_BurdickAfter visiting Israel, one of the most inspirational sites that I visited was the ancient city of Capernaum. It was incredible to walk through the remains of this city where Jesus headquartered his ministry for three years in Galilean region. The very foundation of the synagogue that Jesus taught in was still there and the probably location of Peter’s house was just around the corner with a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee!

Capernaum was the city in which Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, the Centurion’s servant, the woman with the problem of blood who touched the hem of his robe, and where Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. It is also the place where this story takes place:

Mark 2:1-5 (NIV)

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 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. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

As I walked through this city, I could not help but wonder which house it was that these faithful friends would have dug a hole in the roof in order to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. I also wondered if I would have done the same thing if I had a friend who had a need such as this paralyzed man.

What Would You Do for a Friend?

Then I was convicted when I realized how many friends I do have that do have a need—the greatest need in the whole world—to be rightly connected to their Creator! Now don’t get me wrong, I do try to introduce my non-believing friends to Jesus when I can—when it’s convenient and works into my schedule. But these four friends did whatever it took to bring their friend to the foot of Jesus. Are we willing to do whatever it takes to introduce our friends to this same Jesus who wants to heal their deepest need?

Our Greatest Need

What’s amazing about this passage is not that Jesus healed this paralyzed man, but what he does before that. He forgives his sin! First of all, this was a bold claim of deity from Jesus, as the religious leaders make very clear when they ask, “Who can forgive sins but God alone” (Mk. 2:7). But it also shows that though we may think we know what our greatest need is, be it physical healing (as it is in this case), emotional healing, relational healing, financial healing, Jesus makes it very clear that our greatest need is always spiritual healing.

May we learn from these four faithful friends from Capernaum and strive to do all we can to bring our friends to the foot of Jesus so they may have their deepest need met by being forgiven by Jesus and restored to a right relationship with their Creator!

Written by Steve Burdick for College Golf Fellowship. Based on Links Devotion #117 (April 30, 2011).

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