Jennifer Kim, a graduate of Boston University, spent a year in Shanghai as one-year intern from 2013-14. She is currently serving as a staff at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey) while attending Alliance Theological Seminary.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
During my senior year in college, I started experiencing these awful “night terrors”, in which I would wake up in sheer panic and fear. It was a very bizarre experience, but as a result I actually became afraid to go to bed. After a few weeks of dealing with this, I became desperate for healing and I knew I had to share with my roommates. That very night, as I mustered up the courage to share, they decided to tuck me into bed and pray over me. In my exhaustion I fell asleep as they were praying, but in the middle of the night I startled myself awake, not out of fear or panic, but to use the restroom, completely unaware that I had gone almost the entire night without a single nightmare. But as I was getting out of bed I noticed all three of my roommates huddled together sleeping on the floor of my 80 square feet room. As a matter of fact, because they could not all fit in my room, one of them was sleeping in the hallway of our apartment. From that night on, I never woke up in panic or fear again—I was completely healed.
In today’s passage we read a similar story of four friends who carried a paralytic to Jesus to be healed, but seeing that they could not get to Jesus, they climbed the roof and made a hole to lower him down. For these men, what mattered most was not what others would think, or the inconvenience of having to carry the paralytic up a roof and make a hole to lower him down; it didn’t even matter to them what the cost would be in damaging the roof of this home. How easy it would have been for the friends to have given up or to make excuses, but instead they went out of their way to see the one they love be healed. As Jesus witnessed the sacrificial act of the four friends, he states that it was the faith of these men that healed the paralytic.
It was the prayers of my roommates that healed me that day; and the love I witnessed through my friends as they laid on my bedroom floor showed me the love the Father. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts God has given us, and we learn through today’s story that a good friend is someone who is able to go above and beyond for the ones they love, and point you to Jesus our healer. A good friend is able to lift up those in need of healing and recognize that your faith can make a difference in their lives.
Today I want to ask you whether you are being a good friend. Are you available and willing to inconvenience yourself to point the ones you love to Jesus? Are you encouraging others in faith or are your ways hurting the ones you care about? We are called to act in God’s love to the people God has entrusted us with, may we live our lives like the four friends whose faith healed the paralytic.
Prayer: God, thank You for the gift of friendship. I ask that You would help me to be like the four friends in demonstrating sacrificial love. Help me to be someone that others can go to when they need to be pointed to Jesus.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 13
Lunch Break Study
Read John 15:15-17: I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Questions to Consider:
- Jesus states that we are no longer servants but friends. What distinguishes a servant of Jesus from a friend of Jesus?
- While Jesus tells us that he is the initiator of this friendship, what does he say is the reason we are called into this friendship?
- Personal question: What stands in the way of deepening your friendship with Jesus?
- Servants do not know the ways of their master, while friends share in all the knowledge that they have with one another.
- We are called to bear lasting fruit through the love of the Father in us.
- Personal response.
We learned from today’s morning devotional and lunch break study that the friendship we enjoy with Jesus is meant to be shared by loving others. Let’s reflect on our friendships and ask ourselves whether we are sharing the love of Jesus by loving the ones God has entrusted us with. Write down specific ways you can reach out to others in friendship and let’s put them to action!