Spent a good bit of time meditating on Mark 2 this past month. This is what I came up with.
Four people: Missional communities can be large or small, but they function well in small bands of people. The power of small.
Paralytic: People are unable to make it to Jesus on their own. It takes a community effort, which is contrary to the hero myth of evangelism that it is a one person show. When a small community is involved, it diffuses the needs of the person among the group, lightening the load that would typically fall on one person. "Paralyzed" people are people with strongholds, they are high maintenance. This means one person is not dynamic enough to transport them to Jesus. They need multiple connections for the journey.
They Uncovered the Roof: Innovation and creativity. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. These four friends created an innovative strategy to get their friend to Jesus. It did not include the crowd or the conventional entrance. They bypassed all of this. They were unconventional, yet highly successful.
When they had broken through: Innovative strategies take time. Digging through a roof was no easy task, but they were determined to see their friend come to Jesus. In time, a breakthrough will happen.
They let down the bed: Working with "paralyzed" people sets you up for co-dependent relationships. They were willing to let go of their friend once he made it to Jesus. Their role was to get him to the healer. They stayed on the roof, a healthy distance, while Jesus did his work.
Arise, Take up your bed: If you have been paralyzed, the last thing you want to do is carry your mat around. It is the symbol of your hurt and disappointment. Why did Jesus want him to carry his mat? From the paralytics stand point, it showed his mastery over a situation that once mastered him. But you know eventually someone was going to ask him "Why are you carrying that mat around?" Being transparent about our past is what gives us the opportunity to share about what Jesus has done for us.
Go to your house: Jesus did not extract him from his setting. He sent him back into his oikos, his relational hub, to be a living testimony of what Jesus could do.
We never saw anything like this: Jesus has the power to transform people in amazing ways. But you have to wonder if part of their amazement included the innovative and passionate ways in which that small, missional community got him to Jesus. Jesus has the ability to not only transform people, but also our strategies of getting people to him.