Fellowship of the Mat
Mar 10, 2010
We don’t even know their names. Not a single one. In fact, not a word of theirs is recorded for us to consider. All we have is a bold act of vandalism to remember them by.
I’m referring to the friends of the paralyzed man that we meet in Mark 2. We don’t get much back-story on them. How long did they know this guy? Since they were kids? Did they grow up together, or had they just met? Was this a planned attempt or an impulse? Had they brought him to other places, other doctors, healers? Was this one last attempt to help their friend?
We simply don’t know. But we do see the desperation in their actions. These guys (one author calls them the Fellowship of the Mat) aren’t willing to risk waiting for Jesus to be finished His teaching in this house. He might get away and the chance for healing with Him. And apparently the crowd is so thick, they just can’t get through- not while carrying their friend on a straw mat.
So one of them gets an idea. Let’s go up top! Roof-side it is! I’m sure at this point their paralyzed friend is starting to worry a bit, but they press on.
Here’s what I wonder: How long were they digging through the roof (most likely dried mud and adobe) with their hands before Jesus stopped teaching and looked up at the mess? How much debris was on the floor before they caught Jesus’ eye? What a moment. Wish I could see it.
But you know what I love the most about this whole scene? It’s how much they loved their friend. Whether they’d known him for years or hours, it doesn’t matter. What mattered to them above all was getting him to Jesus. Whatever it took. Some awkwardness in getting upstairs? Sure. Some uninvited remodeling on someone else’s place? No problem. The stares and grumbling of others nearby? Who cares? All that mattered was getting him to Jesus. Only Jesus had what he needed most.
And you know what? He still does. He’s still what people need most. So let’s be a Fellowship of the Mat kind of people. Let’s do whatever it takes. Just get them to Jesus. That’s the kind of friend we want to be.