And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
I often wonder when I read this account whether Jesus would even begin to take notice of my kind of faith. The friends of the paralytic were a group of guys who would not let barriers keep their friend from Jesus. They literally broke through the roof of a house to get their friend to Jesus.
Modern skepticism and scientific rationalism flavor my view of faith, unknowingly. I tend to still want a faith that I can mix with a few chemicals and shake down in a test tube. But that is not what the Bible shows us. It isn’t that spiritual truth is unknowable, it obviously is. These guys were CONVINCED that Jesus would heal their paralyzed friend and they took things in their own hands quite literally to act on what they knew about Jesus. It is the lengths to which such belief (aka knowledge) would take them that is remarkable.
Americans tend to want an easy faith. I know. I have lived my entire 45 years in the heart of American evangelical culture. I was educated in Christian schools, always in church, a graduate of a Bible College and an evangelical seminary, and have pastored in churches over 20 years. And we want it easy, which is the appeal of televangelism and “word of faith” theology. But real faith lives with painful realities. This man had been paralyzed for life. His friends could not get through the crowd to see Jesus. It lives with these realities and beyond them. It does hard work. It does the unthinkable, the unacceptable at times, and the counter-cultural. Which is why they were willing to drop their friend through a roof they purposefully destroyed.
Persistence and unwavering commitment are the hallmarks of a remarkable faith. Neither of those come easy. They develop over time in the conviction of irrefutable knowledge of the truth. And they take us closer to the Lord. This was the faith that God the attention of Jesus. I believe it still does.