Adventure that rips a roof off!
Exploring one of the many venues of missional adventure and risk.
Have you ever been on the kind of adventure that would rip the roof off of the house?
Jesus has arrived back in Capernaum to teach and heal. On this particular evening, he’s speaking in someone’s house, which is crowded with those straining to hear the famous local and perhaps witness a miracle or two. Meanwhile, five guys — four of which are mobile and one who is paralyzed — are outside the house desperately trying to get in. The four have carried their paralyzed friend some distance only to be turned away at the door. There is no room for them. But this doesn't deter them from an epic adventure — They're just getting started!
The Bible doesn’t say it, but I just imagine the paralytic in that moment, just trying to keep his composure, saying something like, “Hey guys, thanks for trying, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen today.” Perhaps the friends murmur a bit but not to be deterred from the adventure wipe their brows, gather a breath and glance at each other with the look that says, "Lets get'er done!". Maybe, these four guys were on a mission so full of intent and purpose that they would not be denied reaching their goal for any reason.
All of the sudden — one of them (most likely the crazy one of the bunch,) says, “We're not done boys!” He points up and says. “Let's rip the roof off! What if we get him in through the roof?” It's a stretch, certainly un conventional in their culture, but everyone is all in! So, they gather their strength, get a second wind. and they start ripping, clawing, digging through the roof with their hands, sticks, anything they can find. Can you even imagine them busting through a surface that’s strong enough to hold their weight? It reads like a nightmare episode of "This Old House." Yet, it was no match for an adventurous group of four friends, determined to get through. Talk about “adventurous, out of the box” thinking!
Now imagine their friend, lying on the ground. Was he thinking I need a better group of friends or what have they gotten me in to? Does he cheer them on? Does he shake his head because of dismay or in amazement? Is he humbled by their determination and their willingness to take a huge risk on his behalf? Or scared out of his wits when they haul him up and lower him down? He was already paralyzed, but still—what if he fell? What if they all fell? What if this was not his idea of adventure at all? Now imagine the people in the house. Debris and clods of dirt start to fall on their heads as they peer up. Is it an earthquake? Jesus smiles perhaps, knowingly at the opportunities that are about to unfold. The owner of the house is confused, The people are concerned, and everyone's a little freaked out! Then the bright rays of the sun hit the floor and a shadow as a man is lowered down. Gasps. Silence, and the tension and pause that come with epic adventures.
The Reward of Roof-Ripping Adventures. The faith of the adventurous friends is quite visible! Through one of the most unconventional schemes ever, their faith in Jesus is made clear to everyone. They ripped a roof off on their mission and that’s faith on adventure if I’ve ever seen it!
Mark writes that Jesus looks at the men and sees their faith. The giant gap in the roof is a further reminder of their belief and intentionality to see others experience the Path of Jesus. Then he speaks to the paralytic. His first words are . . . “Son, your sins are forgiven.” At this point, if I’m one of the four men, most likely the crazy one again! I’m thinking, Uhm, Jesus? Did you notice he was paralyzed? We were kinda hoping you’d do something about that.”
Now, the Pharisees have some thoughts of their own, and they are not pleasant. Mark tells us that Jesus knows they think he is blaspheming. Jesus responds by saying, “So that you might know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .” He heals. By this one act, Jesus proves he is on equal footing with the Judge of all, that He can forgive and heal, that He is interested in the paralytic man, the crowds of people, the religious skeptics, and that He is at the center of orchestrator of every epic adventure to be had! Thanks to four agents of adventure, faith, and the power of Jesus, the former paralytic rolls up his mat and walks away in freedom and forgiveness.
The myths surrounding adventure.
There is a myth in America that we should avoid risk at all costs. Wear your helmets. Wear a mask, get a vaccine, hand sanitizer at every turn, seat-belt laws, don't drink from a garden hose, and the list goes on! I stood in my father's lap for miles on end as I was allowed take the steering wheel of a 1968 Chevy Apache pick-up truck. Nobody freaked out and I am still alive today! This concern for risk seeps into our churches too. We concern ourselves with the finances. We try to protect everything in God's house as if we placed it there. We work hard to maintain our comfort and safety, minimize personal risk in our homes and lifestyles. Looking at these men in Mark 2 we must ask ourselves, Did they choose the safe route? Was ripping the roof off a “wise decision”? Lowering a paralytic on a mat through a hole in the roof was probably not on the “Top 5 Strategies to Help Your Friends Get to Jesus” list. I must see through the myths if I am going to become a risk taker, an agent of adventure, to take others on the Path of Jesus!
So is following Jesus safe?
If Jesus is leading, it may not look safe. But we can be secure, knowing He is there, alongside, in front, behind. Ask yourself, What “too safe” plans have you, your friends, your chapter, or your church, business, organizations, laid? Where is Jesus saying, “Come on, try me”? He is the Son of God who has authority on earth to forgive sins and bring full freedom! He is so worth the risks and is the One who risked everything for you!. There are desperate, paralyzed, sinful people around us who need him.
As the crowds in Capernaum dispersed that day, I wonder if the owners of the house were left by themselves to stare up at the new skylight they had been given in their roof. Hopefully they remembered the adventure of the day. Hopefully they were impacted by the Agents of Adventure. And I think it is safe to say that they were set on the path of a Carpenter, a freind, Jesus.