"When Jesus Saw Their Faith"
By Rich Carmicheal
The account of the healing of the paralytic is one of many passages that illustrate how much the Lord values the service we offer to others. As you read through Mark’s version of this healing, note especially how Jesus viewed the men who brought the paralytic to Him:
"A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that He had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and He preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’
"Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
"Immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven," or to say, "Get up, take your mat, and walk"? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….’ He said to the paralytic, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’" (Mark 2:1-12).
Did you notice how Jesus viewed the men who brought the paralytic to Him? A key turning point in the story is summarized in these words: "When Jesus saw their faith…." Jesus was impressed with the faith of these men. They obviously believed that Jesus could heal their friend, and they went to great effort to bring him to Jesus. They carried him to the home where Jesus was preaching, and because they could not make their way through the crowd, they went to the roof, made an opening through it, and then lowered the man directly in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19). Surely this was faith in action! They were determined to help their friend receive healing. They were serving him, doing for him what he could not do for himself.
Can you imagine the joy and satisfaction these men experienced as he got up, took up his mat and walked? And not only was he healed physically, Jesus had also forgiven his sins! What a marvelous blessing these men helped their friend receive from Jesus! The whole crowd joined in the rejoicing and "praised God, saying ‘We have never seen anything like this!’"
This story reminds us not only of how the Lord notices what we do out of faith for the benefit of others, but also the impact that our service has. Through the good that we do for others, the Lord extends His love, His message, His power, His forgiveness and His grace. No wonder our service is of such consequence to Him.
The Lord Highly Regards Service
Many other passages illustrate how important and meaningful our service to others is to the Lord. For example, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus teaches that what we do for even the least of His brothers, we are actually doing unto Him:
"‘...For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’
"Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’
"The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me’" (vv. 34-40).
Our service is obviously a very personal matter to the Lord. Consider these additional passages that also illustrate how highly the Lord regards our service to others:
"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them" (Hebrews 6:10).
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Hebrews 13:16).
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’" (Acts 20:35).
"…for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
"…I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God" (Philippians 4:18).
"Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a remembrance before God" (Acts 10:4b).
"I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first" (Revelation 2:19).
"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:3-4).
As these verses point out, the Lord is very aware of the good that we do for the benefit of others and He does not forget it. He is pleased by such service and He blesses and rewards those who do good for others.