If you aren’t familiar with this story from Mark two, here are the quick bullet points.
-Jesus is in Capernaum
-He’s performing healing miracles in a home
-The gathered crowd has gotten so big that it’s nearly impossible to get in
-Four men show up with their friend who is paralyzed
-Seeing that there is no conventional way to get their friend to Jesus, they decide to bust in through the roof
These four men in this story are going to get to Jesus, no matter what it takes. These men were not unique when it came the lengths people were willing to go in order to encounter Jesus. In His day, people were willing to climb on roofs, leave their jobs, and risk starvation just so they could be in the presence of this strange carpenter from Nazareth. Throughout the four gospels, we see people doing whatever it takes to get near God.
Rewind a bit, back into the Old Testament, and you’ll see people willing to sacrifice huge portions of their grain and livestock, just to have an inkling of God’s presence and mercy.
Moses climbed a mountain, over and over again
Solomon built a huge, extremely elaborate temple
The Israelites traveled through the desert for 40 years
All throughout scripture, we see men and women doing whatever it takes to get near God.
So, the question then becomes, in a time when the presence of God is always available, everywhere, and all it requires is some focus, a little bit of time, and submission, why are so few Christians today making the sacrifice to get into God’s presence?
When Jesus died on the cross, he bridged the gap between us and God. He removed the giant barrier called sin, so that intimacy with God could be constantly and forever available. No longer do we have to climb mountains, search deserts, make sacrifices, and bust in through skylights. God is here, now, available. And all it takes to become aware of his presence is the simple discipline of slowing down and focussing our minds and hearts on him.
By the way, do you know what happens when we get into God’s presence? Look back at Mark 2 for a second. The men bust through the roof and lower their friend in front of Jesus. They in verse 5 it says, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
The man was healed, and he was healed because of their faith, because they were willing to do whatever to get to Jesus. I believe that God will reward our faith much in the same way. When we make the necessary sacrifices to get into God’s presence, we experience miracles, healing, provision, and grace. When we bust through roofs, we experience life.