When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)
In Mark chapter two we find a familiar story with a curious twist. The story, which might be familiar to many, is that of four friends who bring their fifth friend, who is paralysed, to Jesus to be healed. Finding no way to get into the house where Jesus was, they climb onto the roof and lower their friend down to where Jesus sat. He see the man in need and heals him.
It is a terrific story with a curious twist. The twist is that we are told Jesus saw their faith. That’s a curious thing, because faith is something invisible. I might have faith, and you might have faith, but I can’t see your faith, and you can’t see mine. It’s not like the length of our hair or the colour of our eyes.
Hebrews 11 tells us that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is confidence, assurance, trust and hope in things unseen. Faith in centred on things we cannot see, and cannot be seen itself.
So when Mark states confidently that Jesus saw their faith, we have to ask: how can that be? The answer is that their faith was visible by their actions.
This group of friends do some remarkable things in this story. They don’t give us when faced with the crowd. They find a creative solution to their problem of getting to Jesus. They face potential ridicule and disappointment if it doesn’t work. There will be a cost involved, as someone will need to repair the roof. There might even be a penalty for destruction of property!
But all these actions are motivated by faith. Faith in Jesus as their only hope. Faith that Jesus was able to heal their friend. Faith that Jesus would accept their actions and not reject them. Their faith was invisible, but made visible by what they did.
That raises a question for us: is my faith visible for others to see?
I can’t see your faith. But I can see how your faith becomes visible in the words that you say, the actions that you take, and the choices that you make. You can’t see my faith, but you can see whether what I say about my faith matches up with what I do and think and speak.
That’s pretty challenging isn’t it? What can people tell about my faith from what they can see? Is my faith visible and on display? Or is it hidden away and disguised?
Let’s learn from the example of those four friends whose faith was on display for all to see. Let’s live lives in the power of the Holy Spirit that make invisible faith visible for the world to view.