(Fourth in a series of article based on the little incident in Mark 2:1-12)
“Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying….”
A priest stands between God and the people. He is an intercessor before God on behalf of the people. He is a witness (whether teaching, preaching, or simply speaking) before the people on behalf of God.
The priest has two strong attachments: to the Lord Himself and to the people in his care.
The four men of this story demonstrate both: Their confidence in Jesus is what inspired them to go to all this trouble of getting their friend to Him; Their commitment to the friend drove them to do whatever it took to see that he had the full opportunity to be healed.
With one hand on the Lord and the other on the friend, both hands locked into steel grips, the “priest” refuses to turn loose of either.
We see this in the intercession of Moses for Israel. While Moses remained on Sinai receiving the Law from God, the Lord’s people grew tired of waiting and fell into sin. The story is told in Exodus 32. It was a sad day in the life of Israel, and God was furious. He said to Moses, “Now, leave me alone, so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation” (32:10).
God’s people were in danger, and Moses was the man on the spot. He stood in the breach.
“The following day Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a great sin. Now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I will be able to make atonement for your sin” (32:30).
Next, “So Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, this people has committed a great sin….Now, if you would, forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out of the book You have written” (32:31-32).
Don’t miss this. When Moses stands before the people, he has a firm grasp on God and represents Him. When He stands before God, he will not loosen his grip on the people.
To the people, Moses says, “I’m with God.” To God, he says, “I’m with the people.”
That is an intercessor.
It’s also true of a faithful witness, someone who brings his/her friend to the Savior, whether through proclamation of the gospel, teaching the Word, or personal witnessing.
Paul put it this way. “God… reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making HIs appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
Therefore, he said, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
A good priest stands in the place of Christ. It’s as though he were saying, “Jesus couldn’t be here today, so He sent me.” Of course, Jesus is there. But the witness is His mouthpiece.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light’ (I Peter 2:9).
Someone asks, “What right do I have to speak to others about God? I’m so weak and understand so little myself. I don’t want to present myself as a know-it-all.”
Answer: You’re not bringing people to yourself, but to Jesus. He is the Everlasting Know-it-all. Tell them about Jesus. He will take it from there.
We who would bring others to Jesus may take a lesson from these four unknown men of Capernaum: Do whatever it takes to get them to the Savior.
Even tear up a few things, if necessary.