July 13, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Luke 5:18-19 (NRSV)
Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus.
For the context for this passage, read Luke 5:17-27.
The more we trust Jesus, the more we will take risks for the sake of the kingdom of God. We will be emboldened to try things we would not otherwise try, to love in ways we would not otherwise love. Why? Because we trust Jesus to guide us, empower us, and work through us. So, whether we are moving far away from home in response to God’s call, reaching out to care for a colleague at work, or confronting injustice in our city, we rely on Jesus, the one we trust because he is utterly trustworthy.
This devotion is part of the series Following Jesus Today.
In last Thursday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I began to examine the story in Luke 5:17-27 in which several men brought to Jesus a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When they couldn’t get close enough to Jesus for him to heal their friend, the men did a shocking thing: getting up on the roof of the building where Jesus was speaking, making a large hole in the roof, and letting down the bed with their friend so that it landed right in front of Jesus. Jesus did indeed heal the paralyzed man, but only after forgiving his sins, which stirred up the Jewish teachers who were observing Jesus’s behavior.
In Thursday’s devotion we focused on the fact that the men who carried their friend to Jesus took many risks along the way. They risked reputation and legal repercussions. They risked angering many people, including Jesus. And they risked the disappointment that Jesus would not, after all they had done, heal their friend.
Why, I wonder, did the bed-carrying men take on such risks? Luke supplies one answer to this question, which we’ll examine in a moment. But first I want to note something that is likely though not stated explicitly. We can surely infer from the story that the bed-carrying men were deeply committed to their paralyzed friend and his healing. They were willing to risk so much because of their care for him. Committed love for others will motivate us to put everything on the line. The more we love, the more we will take risks in service to others.
Though Luke does not actually mention the care of the bed-carriers for the paralyzed man, he does note another reason for their risk-taking behavior. After they tore a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down to Jesus, Luke notes that Jesus “saw their faith” and then ministered to the paralyzed man (5:20). Surely, the men who brought their friend to Jesus had exceptional faith. They were convinced that Jesus had the power to heal and would indeed heal their friend if they could only get him into Jesus’s presence. They trusted Jesus utterly.
The more we trust Jesus, the more we will take risks for the sake of the kingdom of God. We will be emboldened to try things we would not otherwise try, to love in ways we would not otherwise love, to build what we would not otherwise build. Why? Because we trust Jesus to guide us, empower us, and work through us. So, whether we are moving far away from home in response to God’s call, reaching out to care for a colleague at work, confronting injustice in our city, we rely on Jesus, the one we trust because he is utterly trustworthy.
Can you think of a time in your life when you took a risk because you cared for someone? What was this like for you?
Can you think of a time in your life when you took a risk because of your trust in Jesus? What was this like for you?
What helps you to grow in your trust in Jesus?
With your small group or a wise friend, take some time to reflect together on this question: If I really trusted Jesus, what would I do that I am not doing now?
Lord Jesus, thank you for the example of the bed-carrying men in this story from Luke. Thank you for their care for their friend. Thank you for their trust in you. Thank you for their willingness to take a risk – several risks, actually – for the sake of their friend’s healing. Thank you for seeing their faith and for healing the paralyzed man.
I ask, Lord, that you help me to care for others more than I do today. Give me love, not only for those I already love, but for those I have a hard time loving. May my love motivate my action.
I also ask, Lord Jesus, that you help me to trust you more. I do trust you in many ways. You know that. But I also hold back. I find it hard to take major risks in response to your guidance. Safety is so comfortable. So, I ask that, by your Spirit, you strengthen my trust in you so that I might live for you more boldly. To you be all of the glory. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling Archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Best of Daily Reflections: Walking Around in the Skin of the Paralytic
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.