A Friend Indeed – January 12, 2019

Genesis 26.17-27.46
Matthew 9.1-17
Psalm 10.16-18
Proverbs 3.9-10

Those who have been in ministry for any length of time have at least one story about being completely humbled by a word of wisdom from someone from whom we least expect it. I have had more than fair share of moments like that, but the one that always stands out to me is one I remember anytime I read today’s story of the paralytic healed by Jesus.

I was teaching this story to a group of students and began to describe how boring the paralytic must have been as a friend. I mean, I exclaimed, there really wasn’t a whole lot he could do. (Remember: this was one of my humbling moments, not a moment of glorious brilliance!)

There was a young man in that particular group whom today we would probably define as an outlier. He wasn’t necessarily a menace or trouble-maker, but he was aware enough of where the edge of the envelope was to walk to that edge and begin to kick the line. I had been told prior to teaching that group that this young man might be an irritant to me as I taught. So, I went into the class almost ready to set him on the straight and narrow. (Have I mentioned this story is about my humbling?)

As I am describing this paralyzed man who really was a drag on his friends (pun intended) and as I described that there was very little he could do, this “outlier” sitting seemingly disinterested on the very back row suddenly interrupted me and said: “That’s not true.”

Here’s the thing. I can distinctly remember thinking: OK, I’m going to let this young man dig a little deeper in this hole he has created before I show him the error of his ways.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, he apparently was a good friend to others.”

I wanted to just crawl under a chair or slowly back out of the room. He was right. Think about it. What kind of person gets carried around by friends? The gospel of Mark includes in this story that these friends of this paralytic actually carry him up on a roof and begin to tear through the roof, they were so intent on getting him to Jesus. And notice also that when Jesus saw theirfaith. The company you keep says something about you, doesn’t it?

Again, what kind of person gets that kind of response from his friends? As that young man pointed out: a man who was a good friend to others.

I hope today that you did not find yourself in a situation where you were humbled by a person from whom you least expected it.

I DO hope, however, that today you were the kind of person those around you would go to whatever length to repay the blessings you have showed them.


As you think about the Jacob and Esau conflict, what sort of response do you have to each of these boys? Who is the hero? Why?

What have you seen today that caused you to praise God? You did remember to praise him, right?

How have you seen God bring justice to individuals who oppressed?

Do you honor God with your best? How can you honor God more with your best?

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