Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Matthew- Four of the Best Friends

By Mary Vee
Matthew 9; Mark 2; Luke 5



From Matthew's Journal 

Photo by Mary Vee
Remains of the synagogue in Capernaum
The area has several rooms and is quite large.
My name is Matthew. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am here with other disciples, so they may add something today. 

Jesus told us this morning we would go back to Capernaum. We followed him there. Several of the disciples had grown up here and were very happy to return.

Again, the word spread that Jesus was going to Capernaum long before we even reached the city. We barely made it into a home where He planned to speak to the crowds. 

The people quieted when Jesus began to preach. The quiet was so good. He taught may new and amazing things. Teachings that tell us how God wants us to live and how we should worship HIm. 

More men and women came. They pressed closer, trying to hear Jesus speak. No one could move in or out of the home where He stood. 

We didn't know at the time, but four friends brought a man they cared about deeply. He was paralyzed. They carried their friend a distance on a stretcher hoping to get close enough to Jesus.

As they came closer they asked the men and women in the crowd to let them through. No one did. The friends tried from different angles hoping to find some kind person to let them through.

Meanwhile on the inside Jesus continued to teach. There were also the Scribes standing close to him. Their squinty eyes said they wanted to find evidence to prove Jesus wrong. 

Back outside where the four friends carried their friend, they decided to give up. Not completely. They wanted to find another way to get close to Jesus. Our homes have roofs that we use for gardens, eating, some people even put bedrooms up there. The roofs are flat and have a parapet, that is a small wall that lets a person know they are near the edge. 

The four friends carried their friend to the roof using the stairs along the outside of the house. They carefully walked him to the roof, taking care to not let him fall off the stretcher. On top, they began to pull away the roof tiles.

Back inside the home, Jesus and all the people near him look up and watched the roof tiles move. The Scribes who stood inside couldn't believe their eyes. Actually, they became too upset to speak. 

Jesus, though, welcomed the men. They lowered their friend down. Slowly. Releasing inches of rope at the same time until their friend lay on the floor near Jesus. 

Jesus looked at the man and then his four friends on the roof. He saw proof of their faith and turned to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

The Scribes who saw the whole thing whispered to one another, "Why does this man talk like that? He is blaspheming God. Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Jesus told us that He knew in his spirit, right then, that this was what they were thinking. He said, "Why are you thinking this? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven or to say 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 

"So you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." Jesus turned to the paralytic man and said, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." The man got up, took his mat, and walked out in full view of everyone there. 

The people who watched this happen whispered and talked with each other. They praised God saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

The paralyzed man walked away.

Jesus didn't hide the healing of the paralytic. He showed the people and had written for us what God did for this man. 

Come back to read the next story.


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sources: 
*A Harmony of the Gospels for Historical Study, An Analytical Synopsis of the Four Gospels by William Arnold Stevens and Ernest DeWitt Burton, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1932
*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*My notes from my trip to Israel.

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