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Blog 31 When Your Love Compels You to Go Through the Roof

How can we have a heart for people? By carrying them to the feet of Jesus.


“We are chosen, to be holy and blameless before him in love; we are redeemed, to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works; we are pardoned and justified, that we may be partakers of larger measures of the divine Spirit for sanctification; we are sanctified, that we may walk in ways of holiness and obedience: no act of divine love that here terminates upon us obtains its proper tendency, issue, and effect, without our holy attendance to God’s word. . . . Love must and will keep the word of God; it inquires wherein the beloved may be pleased and served, and, finding he will be so by observance of his declared will, there it employs and exerts itself. . . . He who is governed by such love approves his light to be good and genuine. He sees the foundation and reason of Christian love; he discerns the weight and value of the Christian redemption; he sees how meet it is that we should love those whom Christ hath loved. . . . Christian love teaches us highly to value our brother’s soul, and to dread every thing that will be injurious to his innocence and peace.” -Matthew Henry, commentary on 1 John 2

The key to the Great Commission is the transfer of authority: Jesus grants us His Holy Spirit to make disciples as we go along, living our lives for Him in holiness and obedience, according to His Word. And we want to obey Him in this! Our love for our Savior prompts us to think about how we can please Him, and knowing the Great Commission assures us that one of the best ways to please Him is to make His kindness known, and to love the people around us as He loves them.

While few would argue this theoretically, many would say it’s hard to know how to go about this practically. We’ve found that one of the best approaches to find practical ways to love the people around us is to look to the examples in Scripture. One of our current favorite examples? The contrast between the friends who literally go through the roof in their love for their paralyzed friend by bringing him to the feet of Jesus, and the Pharisees’ response to Jesus in Luke 5:17-32.

 

First, let’s look at the FRIENDS:

Despite the way most people viewed the sick and crippled in Jesus’ day as suffering just punishment for sin (cf. John 9:2), the men who brought the parapalygic man to Jesus considered themselves his friends. They didn’t shy away from him or see his infirmity as proof of his sin: they saw him as more than his disability, more than his circumstances, and more than what current culture told them they should judge him by. They deeply cared about his well-being; in their eyes, his life had value and purpose. They were willing to go to great lengths to ensure he knew it.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • How often do we see people as merely their physical appearance? (Think especially of those marginalized by our society – the homeless, for example.)
    • How often do we see people and judge them by their circumstances, culture, or our own perceptions rather than by Biblical standards?

Moreover, these friends didn’t just “kind of hope” for their friend’s good, but they actively planned for it and determinedly carried it out. While everyone else was rushing to the house to surround it, they sacrificed the time that would make it more likely they would get in to the house to see Jesus for themselves, moving against the flow of people instead, to gather their friend who could not reach Jesus on his own and carried him to the house to see Jesus.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • When we bring people before Jesus in prayer or reach out to minister to or serve them through words or actions, is it just a fly-by thought? Or have we intentionally prayed through and decided for whom we will stand in the gap?
    • Are we willing to strategically plan a course of action (with the same intention, if not more, than we do when we plan a social media post or vacation) even when it means sacrificing something of our own (our time, our wants, etc.)? Do we have the discipline to carry out Jesus’ kind of ministry – even when it gets awkward, hard, or personal?

Additionally, even though it could have seemed impossible for their friend to walk again, they deeply believed that Jesus could and would accomplish the healing necessary, and that Jesus was their friend’s very best hope. It’s interesting that there is no record of the man asking for their help, which is such a beautiful indicator of just how deeply these friends were to getting the man to Jesus.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • How often do we hesitate to share Jesus with someone or pray on their behalf because part of their identity or circumstances just seem too insurmountable even for Jesus to heal or redeem? Or struggle to believe that God longs to show us His redemptive power?
    • How often do we hesitate to bring people to Jesus because they haven’t initiated or asked for help first, and we think we just don’t have enough to offer of ourselves (because we forget we’re really bringing them to Jesus), and so we quit before we’ve even started? (Consider Exodus 3, especially v. 11-12)

They didn’t give up when it got hard and complications like crowds arose, but pressed in to the hard together to carry their friend to Jesus. They cared enough for their friend to persevere and believed enough in Jesus to push towards Him no matter the obstacles, even if it meant destroying a roof.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • When is it easiest for you to get discouraged when you are interceding on someone’s behalf? How can you press forward? (Our favorite verses on not giving up: Hebrews 12:1-2 with 1 John 3:1; Romans 5:3-5; Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:6-7; John 16:33)
    • Who are your “fellow friend carriers”? Remember, we cannot do this alone! Jesus promises that where two or three or gathered, there He is with them in Matthew 18:20. Take advantage of this promise so that you have friends standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Then, when you get discouraged, they’re there to help! And you can return the favor when they get overwhelmed.

It’s interesting to note that they didn’t have a back-up plan to pull their friend back up to the roof if Jesus rejected him; they went all in, putting all their hope in Christ by casting their friend at Jesus’ feet with no way to pull him back. Thankfully for us, Jesus never rejects us when we throw ourselves at His feet. He shows his authority and subdues our fears with HIS authority and loving-kindness.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • Where do you hold something back in reserve just in case Jesus doesn’t answer your prayers the way you hope?
    • What holds you back from fully casting yourself at Jesus’ feet and on His mercy? Or, if you are able to do this, how can you equip others to do the same?

Additionally, it’s beautiful to note that it was because of the friends’ faith along with the man’s faith that the man is healed. Verse 20 reads, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” It’s so easy to forget that we’re part of a body. When one is hurting, we all should be hurting; and when one has strong faith, that should impact all of us to perceive something.

  • Application questions to consider:
    • Stop here and take a moment to reflect. Really reflect. Is there a friend you need to have faith for? Is there a friend you need to pray for that needs to see the “friendship of Jesus” and be forgiven and set free?
    • What about you? Have you had a friend who has gone to these lengths for you and for your spiritual wholeness in Jesus? Have you thought about thanking him/her?

 

Now, let’s look at the PHARISEES:

This is the Pharisees’ first (recorded) interaction with Jesus, and like the crowds, they’re drawn because of the miracles they’ve heard Jesus perform. However, unlike the crowds, they’re not there to participate, but rather to sit on the sidelines and judge.

    • How often do we ignore the root of what’s going on in the lives of the people around us because we are distracted by surface activity and believe we’re able to wisely judge that activity as godly or ungodly?
    • Is there an area in your own life that you are “sitting on the sidelines” or simply being part of the crowd in a room? Is there an area in your life (or the life of a friend) in which Jesus is asking you to boldly believe (not simply judge)?
  • They’re “in awe” of him until Jesus chooses Levi and his fellow tax collectors as his dinner hosts right after this miracle. They see the ‘sick’ – the tax collectors and sinners – as contemptible and beneath them.
    • When are we tempted to set ourselves above – as more godly – those around us because our life choices seem to have produced better results?
    • Are we tempted to believe health, wealth, or comfort are our due because we’ve made the “right” choices? Do we struggle to believe God is good when He’s not giving us what we think we’re entitled to because we’ve served him the “right” way?
  • Their “awe” quickly turns to awful complaining and eventually contempt.
    • Too easily and quickly our “awe” goes from awesome to awful. Is there an area in your own life you’ve quickly turned from awe to complaining?
    • Why do you think the Pharisees and teachers of the law went from being part of the crowd and in awe of Jesus when he was performing miracles and healing to complaining to his disciples when he was sitting with tax collectors and sinners? What do you think they were missing? Was there something in their culture, circumstances, or circle of influence that was affecting them?

 

In Conclusion: 

Finally, let’s consider these contrasting characters in Luke 5:17-32 one more time: the friends and the pharisees. Can you place yourself in this story? Where do YOU stand?

  • Are you in the house, or standing skeptically outside?
  • Are you with the crowd? If so, are you in awe and looking for more of Jesus’ power in your life? Or, are you complaining about the decisions Christ is making?
  • Or, are you going through the roof, bringing a friend and finding any way you can to get close to the Savior – knowing He is the best (and sometimes unconventional looking) plan for restoration, reconciliation, and redemption?

Are you ready to bring your friends before Jesus but just aren’t sure how? Here are some super practical ideas to get intentional:

      • Choose a specific verse to pray over them nightly
      • Call them once a week to check in
        • Tips for when you check in:
          • ask them about their week, follow-up from the week before (what you’ve been praying for them)
          • take notes/write it down so you don’t forget & can be SPECIFIC when you check in next week
      • Invite them to dinner once a week/month/on holidays when you know they might otherwise be alone so you can hear about their life and listen for other specific ways you can serve them

Last but not least, do you feel prepared to share your faith – the reason you have the hope you have (I Peter 3:15)? If not, check out this great Navigator Resource “Preparing Your Testimony” or this great blog post. We’re praying you’re able to “go through the roof” in your love for your friends this week!

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