August 21, 2022
The "No Name" Friends
There are so many great examples of great men throughout Scripture (and even throughout history) who did great things for God. I’m sure most men could rattle off a few of these men by name without even giving it much thought. Why? Because their NAME is synonymous with what they have done. When we hear their NAME, we can immediately recall what they have done and the wonderful impact they have made in the world around them.
In Luke chapter 5, we read about an encounter that a paralyzed man had with Jesus. In this encounter, Jesus is teaching at someone’s house, and a large crowd begins to form inside and outside the home. The people from the town are there, the disciples are there, and we also learn that some religious leaders are there.
It would seem almost impossible for someone who is paralyzed to be able to get close enough to Jesus and hear His powerful teaching – and maybe even experience His healing power. This is where the encounter takes a wonderful turn: “Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.” (Luke 5:18-19, NIV)
Did you catch what’s happening? Are you sure? Most of the time, when we read a passage like this, we focus on the paralyzed man whose life is about to change. We are on the edge of our seats, wondering what will happen next. Will Jesus stop teaching? Will Jesus even notice the man? Will Jesus heal the paralyzed man? We are completely focused on the MAIN CHARACTER – that we easily forget about the “NO NAME” friends.
For these “NO NAME” friends, it wasn’t enough to get their paralyzed friend to the outskirts of the crowd so that he could faintly hear Jesus’ teaching. For these “NO NAME” friends, it wasn’t enough to get their paralyzed friend around other sick people who may have been waiting at the possibility of getting healed. For these “NO NAME” friends, it was all about getting their friend into the presence of Jesus because they knew that it was in the presence of Jesus where his life could change. They were willing to do whatever was necessary to make this happen – even to go as far as to carry their friend to the roof, rip the shingles off the roof, make a hole in the roof, develop some sort of pulley system, and then lower their friend through the roof directly into the presence of Jesus.
Their FAITH in Jesus affected everything that was about to happen for their friend. Watch what happens next: “When Jesus saw their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ … (Jesus) said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.” (Luke 5:20, 24-25, NIV)
Did you notice what happened? It wasn’t the faith of the paralyzed man that impressed Jesus; rather, it was the faith of these “NO NAME” friends. Jesus responded to their faith and healed their friend.
THE CHALLENGE: Are we OK with being the “NO NAME” friend who does the hard work of getting other people to Jesus so that He can change them, forgive them, and heal them?
As a man in our culture, it seems to be so important to “make a name for ourselves.” We want to do something so significant and so earth-shattering that other people will remember our NAME. Do you know what’s so amazing? You are reading this devotional that references something amazing that happened over 2,000 years ago, and we still don’t know their NAMES. But, we know the impact that their faith made on their friend, on the crowd, and on everyone who would read about it.
Our FAITH affects OTHERS – whether people know our names or not. Are we OK with being the “NO NAME” friend who does the hard work of getting other people to Jesus so that He can change them, forgive them, and heal them?
By: By Eric Spanier, Pastor, New City Church, Wilmington, DE
Today’s Scripture: Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:18-20, NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.