Such love: The power of friendship from three perspectives
A Scripture study from Caring, part one of three.
Such love, pure as the whitest snow
Such love, weeps for the shame I know
Such love, paying the debt I owe
O Jesus, such love
Such love, stilling my restlessness
Such love, filling my emptiness
Such love, showing me holiness
O Jesus, such love
Such love, springs from eternity
Such love, streaming through history
Such love, fountain of life to me
O Jesus, such love
– Graham Kendrick, “Such Love”
The Salvation Army Song Book 199
The words of this song, which are found in The Salvation Army Song Book, have always caught my attention. While the simplicity of the lyrics is captivating, the message is so profound. When I listen to this song, or even read the words, I can’t help but think about the all-encompassing love of God, as he first pays my debts, then provides for me. In many ways, this song summarizes our relationship with Jesus.
While the song points us to Jesus, it also reminds me of the Scripture found in John 15: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
I often question, how I can show this “greater love”? Most of us have not found ourselves in the situation of actually having to lay down our lives for the sake of another, however, I think we are called to show love and mercy to those around us, without considering the personal cost or sacrifice.
In this study series, we will look deeper at the command to love others as God has loved us through looking at the three perspectives shared in Mark 2.
These three perspectives, of the paralyzed man, Jesus and the man’s friends, demonstrate the transformative power of love in friendship. While we examine the love exhibited from each of these perspectives, we will reflect on what God is revealing to us in our hearts and in our lives.
Part 1: The Paralyzed Man
Behind the scenes
Read what Scripture says in Mark 2.
Beyond the surface
In Mark 2, we read about the story of “Such Love” demonstrated on earth. A man, whose name we do not know, was unable to walk, could not get to see or hear Jesus teach on his own. We are not even sure from Scripture if the paralyzed man even knew who Jesus was, but his friends certainly did, and they were determined to get him to the feet of Jesus. The love they had for their friend was so great, they wanted to see him healed.
Let’s think about the paralyzed man—did he think his friends were crazy? He was an outcast. What was the conversation like? “Hey, there is this healer in town. We’re going to carry you to him?”
If that was me, I think I might try and persuade my friends otherwise: “No don’t be so crazy. Nothing is going to change me, and certainly I’m not going to feel better after you’ve carried me for miles through the busy bustling streets on a mat. All that’s going to happen is you are going to get exhausted, and then I’ll be stuck with no way to get back here.”
But was he the kind of man who was seeking peace? Was he seeking joy? Was he struggling with his daily existence?
From the Scripture, I don’t know if he fought with his friends or if he was even able to.
When the paralyzed man and his friends finally arrived at the door to the house where the miracle worker was, they were exhausted. There were needing a rest, but they could not get in; the room was full. They probably couldn’t even see in. It was too crowded!
Too many people had heard the news and come to see Jesus. The paralyzed man’s friends’ difficult, tiring journey appeared to have been worthless. They arrived late to the scene, and there was no room.
But the closed door and overcrowded room was not an obstacle to these friends, for they knew they had to get their friend to the feet of Jesus.
“I know,” said one of the friends. “Let’s carry him up to the roof, and then cut a hole in the roof and lower him down to Jesus.”
What was the paralyzed man thinking? Perhaps, “You cannot be serious. You are taking me up there?”
Imagine what it was like for him when his friends hauled him upstairs. It probably was pretty terrifying!
While it was undoubtedly a real commitment for the paralyzed man’s friends to dig into a stranger’s roof and make a man-sized hole, the paralyzed man’s humanity was on display for all to see.
Between the lines
- Are you willing to lay in front of Jesus, to show your humanity, weakness and failures so you can be healed?
- What’s holding you back?
- How have you been carried when you need to be carried?
- What’s holding you back from being carried in your current struggle?
- What are ways you can stop, rest and experience the love, joy and peace of being in front of the Lord?
Pray that you are willing to accept the offer of laying at the master’s feet, so you can experience the peace, healing and joy that only he can provide.
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