In the midst of their dismay, word has got around that a 'healer' is in town. A flurry of activity is building in their neighbourhood. Stories are beginning to spread like fire, testifying to amazing healings'. The news is intriguing and they are curious but as they look upon their friend, immobilised, they again rationalise and see the absurdity of any hope. For a time they dismiss the stories but word keeps spreading that people are being healed by a man named Jesus.
A large gathering of many people have begun to pour into a building where Jesus is preaching. There are so many people, that they spill out onto the streets. There is an atmosphere of expectation as the crowd is stirred, eyes focused on Jesus. As the crowd builds, there is no vantage point to access Jesus. Those on the peripheral strain their ears to hear the preaching.
In the face of an insurmountable situation, the friends of the paralysed man make a desperate yet united decision. They will take their friend to this man called Jesus. Four men, four friends, four carers take a journey that will change all of their lives forever.
With a plan to take their friend to Jesus, the friends are soon held back by an enormous crowd where no space exists for movement. They have come this far and can't move forward. Confusion, stress and a sickening blow of disappointment rages in their heads. What were they thinking? What's the point? But they have come this far and in this moment a relentless pursuit of healing drives them literally upwards.
The gospel of Mark details their plan: "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 paralysed man was on" (Mark 2:5)
Can you imagine the desperation of friends aching in empathy and passion to be clinging to a roof with their friend precariously balancing on his stretcher? Their faith is commendable and their loyalty to their friend goes beyond words.
This was faith in action. This was the desperate pursuit of healing. The end of the story can be found in the Gospel of Mark chapter 2.