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Borne by Four

Borne by Four

            And they came to Him carrying a paralytic, being borne by four. (Mk 2:3, LITV) 

Mark 2:1-5 is a passage often cited to portray the importance of having close spiritual friends. After all, it is indeed touching how these four friends went out of their way to bring the paralytic to Jesus, no matter what it took. But were these four men really friends of the paralytic?  

The Bible doesn’t say. For all we know, these four could have been mere acquaintances or even random strangers who, on their way to see Jesus, saw the paralytic and out of generosity decided to lend him a helping hand. Seen from this context, we can extract a different teaching. 

After a sermon, the speaker typically goes over prayer requests, which often include those who are sick physically or spiritually and those who seldom or never come to church. Whenever I visited other True Jesus Church locations, I would always hear many names and, not recognizing any of them, would not give much thought to them in my prayers. I would find myself thinking, “Local members who are sick or lost? Not really my problem; they’re the responsibility of their close friends.” 

And yet, the paralytic was carried possibly by four strangers; four people who brought him up onto the roof, dug through it, and lowered him down in front of Jesus. And me? I was one of the many in the multitude who passed by the paralytic and did nothing, like the priest and Levite who saw the man beaten by the road and passed by on the other side. But these four, coincidentally walking by the paralytic, had compassion. They were living examples of the good Samaritan. 

When we hear prayer requests, we are seeing fellow brethren in need along the road. How earnestly do we pray for them? How far out of our way are we willing to go to help them? Those who are sick or lost or paralyzed—whether strangers or friends—are our responsibility. We can either be part of the multitudes that pass them by, or be the few good Samaritans. Let us choose to have compassion.


            Question for Reflection:

When was the last time you interceded in prayer for someone not close to you?

Author: Hain-Lee Hsueh