When he saw their faith

In The Gospel of Mark chapter 2 we have the account of a miracle of Jesus that we tend to remember most. Jesus had now become so sought after that it was sometimes difficult to see and hear him. There is a paralysed man who lay on a bed that 4 friends carried, but it was impossible for them to bring him anywhere near Jesus. "because of the crowd they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed .... " [Mark 2 v. 4] Then comes a very interesting statement, "and when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'My son your sins are forgiven.' "[v.5] and he is told to, "rise, pick up your bed and go home." [v.11]

This is not saying the paralytic had no faith, but Jesus was conscious of how much faith the 4 friends had in all the effort they went to; they had supreme faith in what Jesus could do. This causes us to reflect on the power of prayer and actions that are done in faith on behalf of others. In the Old Testament record, the prophet Jeremiah had become such a person. But three times the LORD tells him, "As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me .." [Ch. 7 v.16 see also. 11 v.14 and 14 v.11] The LORD did not want to be influenced by his prayers.

That clearly shows that when a righteous person prays, God hears and hearkens. James, in his epistle states, "... pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power in its working." [5 v.16] David has a heart stirring observation in Psalm 34 v.15, "The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry ... when the righteous cry for help the LORD hears .." [Psa. 34 v.15,17]

And Paul in Romans Ch.1 that, "God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son , that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you." [v.9,10] Interesting phrase – "somehow by God's will" – that is a phrase we can and should use in our personal prayers – and in our prayers on behalf of others. This is what Jesus said in his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matt 26:42 "He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."

James made that point, " ... you ought to say, 'if the Lord wills, we will do this or that.' " (4 v.15)

May the Lord see our faith go from strength to strength. It is trials that cause this to happen; Peter observed, " if necessary ... grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes ... may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ." [1 Peter 1 v.6,7]