“Jonas! Rabbi is waiting” Elias shouted as he urged him to hurry. It was time for their Torah classes. Micah, Abihu and Elshammah stood with Elias, waiting Jonas.
Jonas came out at last and off the 8-year Olds ran to the temple. They were already late. They were already late when Micah broke into a run. As expected, the others followed suit. Jonas wasn’t concentrating as he ran and so he didn’t see that the others were avoiding a rather large boulder. He ran blindly into it.
He screamed loudly as a very sharp pain seared through his whole body. He felt as though he’d been dipped in boiling oil. He passed out immediately.
“Jonas” he heard his mother call from far away. With quickly fluttering eyelids, he tried to decipher where he was. “Oh my dear boy” his mother, Eliraz whispered as she cradled him in her blossom.
“Oh Yah, thank you” she said, with tear streaming down her beautiful face.
The physician came to examine Jonas a few minutes later and said slowly with sadness etched on his face, “I’m sorry. Jonas will get better but will never be able to walk”.
“Jonas” Abihu said gently as he and the other three friends filed quietly into the dimly lit room. Jonas had been a paraplegic for 25 years now and his four friends who had become brothers had stuck with him through the years.
Abihu continued. “I heard Jesus the Nazarene is in town and I overheard while passing through the market square, Elias explain how he healed his blind son. Elshammah added “I heard he even healed the servant of the officer who wasn’t even a Jew.
Jonas looked from one person to the other, a grain slowly spreading across his face. ‘I’ll be healed today’ he said soberly. He quickly erupted in laughter. ‘I’ll be healed today’ he shouted. He couldn’t contain his excitement as his four friends sat closely drawing up a plan.
The house where Jesus was, was way more crowded than they thought it would be and ‘the friends’ as Jonas called them already noticed that Jonas’ countenance was changing gradually. It felt like hope was sadly ebbing away.
“What shall we do now?” Elshammah, the most quiet one among them asked.
They had been quiet for about 5 minutes when Micah suddenly exclaimed “Yes!” They turned to him and he began to explain his an and yes, they were going to do just that. After all, he was a carpenter and they could trust his judgement.
Jesus had just healed a deaf girl and her mother was expressing her gratitude when he noticed some other the tiles on the roof were being removed. He already knew what those guys were up to so he continued teaching and healing.
After a few minutes, a mat was lowered through the opening. He paused and waited till it was completely lowered to the ground. He looked at Jonas’ face and saw hope ignited. He looked up and saw his friends waiting and smiling to each other. They were so sure this plan was the best and was going to work.
Jesus looked at him and said “My son, your sins are forgiven. Immediately, Jonas felt itching in his legs.” Was this it?” he thought to himself.
He saw some pharisees begin to question Jesus and he felt like throwing them out of the place. Couldn’t they see they were ruining this perfect moment?
Jesus must have given them an appropriate response because they kept quiet. Jesus turned to face him and told him “Get up, pick up your mat and go home. Immediately he couldn’t control his movement. All he knew was that he stood up and began to walk. He looked up at his friends and gave them that big I-owe-you-one smile. He hurried out and met his friends outside.
They couldn’t contain their excitement and jumped and shouted as they walked home to share the good news with their family.
Above is a paraphrased story in Mark 2:1-12.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Happy new year friend. Last year, I was reminded a number of times about the importance of community. As we seek to have good friends who will spur us unto good works and be there when we need them, may we be those kind of friends too.
May we be friends who will be friends in words and actions. Friends who will be willing to sacrifice without expecting anything in return.
You need me as a friend? Send a
200-worded letter of intent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jokes aside, if you need to talk to me you can always reach me. I’ll listen and pray with you.