Take Up Your Mat and Walk!
Early in the ministry of Jesus, some men physically carry their friend who cannot walk to see Jesus. Because there was a crowd of people in, out and around the home where Jesus was teaching, they climbed the walls, opened the roof, and let their friend down on a mat so that the Lord might heal him. I find it amazing that the homeowner is not recorded as being upset with the dismantling of his roof. Jesus was impressed with their faith and told the man that his sins were forgiven. When Jesus realized that some of the people in the crowd thought he went to far in forgiving the man of his sins, he told the man, “Pick up your mat and go home.” (Mark2: 11) To the amazement of those who stood by, the man got up, picked up his mat and went home.
These are some of my observations from the story. First, the man had a chronic illness. He probably had been ill for a long time. In our current political lingo, the man had a pre-occurring illness that was not covered by health care insurance. Because he had no health care insurance, his friends brought the sick man to Jesus, the doctor who never lost a case. Second point, the friends were undeterred by the crowd that blocked the door, so they went through the roof. Sometimes in life, to get where we are going, we must get up and above the problem that prevents us from reaching our goal. Another thing I learn from this scripture: Jesus was moved by their faith! Jesus is moved by your faith and my faith. Prayer makes a difference. The Lord wants to know if we really believe in him. People became angry with Jesus when he told the man his sins were forgiven. So, not to be outdone, Jesus told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat and walk. The man is emboldened because of the faith of Jesus, and he does what the Lord tells him to do.
You and I would do well to emulate the example of the sick man and pick up our bed and walk! Pick up your bed and stop waiting on others to fight your battle! Pick up your bed, you have been laying down to long! Pick up your bed and use what your mother gave you, your legs! Pick up your bed and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Pick up your bed and walk in the sunshine of faith and the glory of the Lord!
Mark 2: 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” 
Questions for Reflection:
- What can you learn from the faith of the men who lowered their friend through a roof to be healed by Jesus?
- Must the sick man have to be physically be near Jesus to be healed?
- What are your thoughts about Jesus telling the man that his sins were forgiven?
Prayer: Lord, increase my faith, that I might follow you to the ends of the earth. Increase my hope that I might believe beyond what I might see. Increase my love, that I might live life with compassion and sensitivity to those in need. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
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