Jesus is teaching. House is packed.
4 guys and their buddy on a mat can't hear or see him.
They dig a hole in the roof. Not just to hear or see him.
They dig it so big that buddy on a mat can be lowered down and put right next to Jesus.
Don't know much about buddy on a mat. He's paralyzed. You get the sense that he's known nothing but the mat for awhile. His identity is tied up with the mat. His past, present and future are tied to that mat.
And Buddy on that mat has 4 friends who want a different story for him so bad that they wreck the roof to get him to Jesus.
Jesus saw THEIR faith. And he healed buddy on a mat. "Son, your sins are forgiven...take up your mat and walk."
And he does.
Maybe all of Capernaum knew buddy on a mat. Maybe they knew how he got paralyzed. Maybe he'd been that way since he was young.
Regardless. Buddy on a mat wasn't on a mat anymore.
Something happened there.
And people couldn't help but be in awe.
I want to land this passage at "Jesus wants to rid you of the mat."
Whatever it is that has crippled you...has defined you...has claimed your identity.
If it's fear that has paralyzed you...If it's anxiety...If it's depression...If its anger...bitterness...secrecy...shame...a double life...insecurity...arrogance...past hurts...unforgiveness...what ever has tied your past present and future to a mat of paralysis, Jesus wants to rid you from it.
Sounds like the right message.
But Jesus doesn't say get rid of the mat.
He says take it with you.
That's a different story. That's an odd approach. In my mind, I want to tell Jesus he made a mistake. Why keep that mat as a reminder for dude formerly known as buddy on a mat? Why keep that torment in front of him. Let him walk in freedom. Let him walk in new creation.
But maybe this is the point.
Instead of eliminating the mat or destroying the mat or erasing the mat...
Jesus wants to redeem it.
What if your mat became God's message?
The thing that you are most injured by...the thing you are most ashamed of...the thing that has stolen your life...has left you stuck...unable to move on...That is exactly where God wants your ministry to come from.
Instead of sweeping under the rug your marriage that is in shambles. What if you brought it to the light and asked God to redeem it? Then what if you let God keep using it to help other marriages?
What if your depression let you speak life and hope to someone else who is in despair?
Certainly buddy on a mat was looked at a little differently as he walked away from that encounter with Jesus. Buddy walking with a mat tells a better story.
It reminds us that Jesus loves us enough to meet us right where we're at.
And he loves us enough to not let us stay there.
Change Starts Here.