Mat Keeper

He [Jesus] said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Luke 5:24-25 (NIV)

This is that great story about how four friends took their paralyzed buddy to Jesus because they heard that He might be able to heal him. They got to the house where Jesus was and it was so crowded, they couldn’t get their friend and the mat on which they were carrying him close enough to Jesus – so they cut a hole in the roof and lowered the friend down! Now THAT is resourceful and desperate, isn’t it?

The story is so familiar but during the children’s sermon this week, the teacher asked the question: Why did Jesus tell the man to pick up his mat and take it with him when he left? The man was healed, what did he need a mat for? The teacher suggested that maybe Jesus wanted the man to use it…to bring someone else for healing. I imagine that the man had met a few other people in similar circumstances as he probably lay out by the city gate begging.

It’s wonderful when God does something awesome in my life! And, yes, I praise Him and praise Him and praise Him! Wouldn’t it be a great way to praise God if I brought a hurt friend to meet the One who healed me? As a nurse, I do not go to a new physician unless he/she comes recommended by someone else! And I do not recommend a physician unless I have known that MD for awhile and have a knowledge of his professional skill and his personal integrity. I highly recommend Jesus because I personally know His power and I know His love.

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.” Luke 5:26 (NIV)

They people who saw the man healed were “filled with awe”. Now the awe could be ‘wonder’ but there also could be some ‘fear’ mixed in. People may see a change in me; a healing in my life and still be reluctant to believe and accept that it was Jesus who did those things in my life. Sometimes it is difficult to be joyful about a change in my life. Change brings change. It can mean changes in friends, priorities, schedules, and every aspect of my life. Bringing someone to know Jesus usually means building a relationship with that person and allowing them to see my life…as is, including the changes. It is allowing Jesus to shine through in my life so that another person will come closer…not just to me, but more importantly…come close to Jesus Christ. The chain of grace keeps going as they bring someone to Jesus. God’s Kingdom grows.

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