Skip to content

Chapel Address

Prof. Paul Schaller, Speaker

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.” Mark 2:3-5

Friends Indeed

This is one of my favorite times of the year, not because the weather is always perfect, but because usually at this time of year (September—ed.) there are not too many on campus who are sick.

Of course, being sick can have an up-side too. A gentleman in the hospital had severe back pains, so that he could not even lie on a hospital bed. He had to lie, without moving, on a gurney that was hard-as-a-board. When asked about it, he said, “You know, it has given me time to think about what’s important in life, and it isn’t spending all my time and energy selling insurance!”

Being sick can break up your daily routines and allow you to think about spiritual relationships that so easily get pushed to the side in daily life. Washing windows, scrubbing floors, or raking leaves on a Saturday morning can also give you a chance to think. Alone with your thoughts, you might remember some of the unkind words that you used to hurt a
friend or the selfish thoughts behind some hidden deeds.

Perhaps that was the case for the paralyzed man in Capernaum. He was dependent on four of his friends to transport him around the community, but he could still think, couldn’t he? Maybe he realized that his heart could also be paralyzed at any time, and he needed to be ready to meet God. It’s true of all of us, but we seem to think of it more easily when we are afflicted in some way. Maybe the man even thought that his paralysis was punishment for some sin that he had committed, not an uncommon idea in those days–or these. At any rate, he was apparently troubled, and his friends thought that Jesus
could help.

Maybe they thought healing would help, and knew Jesus could do it. Maybe they saw that he was troubled and did not know what would help, but thought that Jesus could. No matter what lay behind it, these were not your average, run-of-the-mill friends.

So often in this life “friends” have instead carried friends away from Jesus to worldly solutions: cheating, stealing, looking to inner strength, or…“you look like you could use a drink!” But these men were going to bring their friend to Jesus even if it meant digging the tiles off the roof (creating another burdensome job for themselves later to repair the damage). Yet, even if it made them look foolish and impractical, they were going to bring their friend
to Jesus!

Jesus saw their faith, how far they were willing to go, trusting Him to do the best thing, and He turned to their helpless friend with the power of God unto salvation: “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Do you have friends like that? Many of you could start with your parents. When you were a helpless infant—and a vocal portion of Christendom was saying, “infant baptism does no good”—they
carried you to the font to receive
the washing of regeneration.

Do you have friends like that? Many in our country last week watched a video of people lifting a burning car to drag a stranger to safety from under it. They did not ask themselves if the car was hot or about to explode. Some of them did not even know if the driver was alive or already dead. They saw someone paralyzed, helpless, and they moved a great obstacle to help him.

Do you have friends like that? Better! I hope here at ILC you will not remain strangers to those friends around you who will see when you are troubled and in need, and will take you to Jesus, no matter how hard the task may seem! Sometimes you may be the one who makes it hard for them if you are not aware that your real problem is that you need to hear His voice say, “Child, your sins have been put away from you.”

But God knew what you needed and sent His Son to befriend you as no one else could, laying down His life for you, taking the bullet that you deserved so that you might live!  And now He also sends friends to you who consider you to be a gift to them, and who daily take you to the throne of grace, praying that you might be blessed.

If you have friends like that, it is no accident. It is a gift of God to you. And even if you do not feel it, but feel numb, helpless, paralyzed in the face of life’s challenges, you will be blessed. You have
His Word on it!!