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Faith That Rips Open The Rooftop

By Fr. Jason Bowman

Mark 2:1-5

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

How does one “see” faith? Think about that for a moment. The dictionary defines faith as strong belief. That places faith as something within the mind and heart of a person. Many people indeed understand religious faith in these terms. They see religious faith as personal and private. Yet, Jesus “sees” their faith. He does not do this through a supernatural ability to see the inward person. Something else is happening here.

What Jesus saw was a group of friends willing to rip open a rooftop in order to bring their paralyzed buddy to him. It is in this action Jesus observes their faith. They act because they believe Jesus has the power to heal. They would not have ripped open the roof if they had no faith in Jesus. Thus, what Jesus sees is an outward expression demonstrating a true inward faith.

Was their faith perfect? Did they have no doubts as they approached Jesus? No. It is highly likely that as these men brought their friend to Jesus, they were hoping beyond all hope that Jesus would heal him, but they didn’t know if he would. We glimpse this truth in the last verse where Mark writes that the healing “amazed everyone” (2:12). This is includes the friends. The radical steps they took to get this paralyzed man to Jesus show they believed Jesus could heal their friend, but they did not know if he would.

What do we learn from this about faith and prayer?

We know faith is fundamental to prayer. Without faith, God is not pleased, and we should not expect God to act (Hebrews 11:6). However, how does our inward faith reveal itself in an outward manner that God sees? In this story, faith that Jesus saw was faith people acted on. Jesus saw the faith of these men when they brought their friend to him. Though it was a radical move on their part, it did not have to be that radical to be an expression of faith. What mattered is that nothing — including the people or the roof — would stand in their way because they whole heartedly believed Jesus could heal their friend.

Prayer can be one of those acts of faith. It is essentially bringing our needs to Jesus even as these men did. The people and the roof could have stood in their way, but their faith was stronger than the obstacles. We have our own obstacles to deal with. Our busy lives, our agendas, our laziness and our apathy can all be obstacles to prayer. But when we our faith is stronger than the obstacles, we come to God in prayer anyway. It is like tearing open the roof and letting Jesus see we truly have faith that he can transform our lives.

Another important aspect to consider is that these men had faith that Jesus could heal their friend, not faith that Jesus would heal their friend. The difference is significant. When we come before the Lord in prayer, we are called to believe what the Lord is capable of, not precisely what the Lord will do. If you have enough faith to come and lay your concerns before God while only having a hope that he will answer, that is enough. The Lord can transform our circumstances even if we are not sure he will. We do not have to come 100% convinced that God will answer our prayer just as we ask it. The simple act of bringing our prayers to God can demonstrate we have enough faith that God can bring change.

Application

Do you have faith in God? Show that faith by praying every day this week. Interfere with your schedule and agenda. Make time for God. Tear open the roof and bring your concerns to your Father.

Come to Him with hope. Come to Him believing that He can respond to any circumstance. And come even if you have doubts and struggles. Show your faith by coming and seeking Him no matter what.

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