One day, while Jesus was teaching in someone's house, many people were sitting there. Some of them were Pharisees. Other people were teachers of God's Law. They had come from many villages in Galilee, and from Judea and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there with Jesus to make sick people well. Then some men arrived. They were carrying a man on a mat. The man could not walk or move his legs. They tried to get into the house, because they wanted to bring the man to Jesus. But the house was full of people, and they could not get in. So, they carried the man on to the flat roof of the house. Then they made a hole in the roof. After that, they put the mat down through the hole. The man was still lying on it. He came down in the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Jesus saw them. He knew that they believed in him. So he said to the sick man, ‘My friend, I forgive you for the wrong things that you have done.’
Jesus knew that spiritual healing was the most important, but we also know that he knew physical needs need to be met first. In psychology, there is an illustration called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. In this, it describes that before someone becomes comfortable with themselves and is "self-actualized", they must have their basic needs met. For instance, if someone is starving, they will not see the need for anything but food. If one is in an unsafe environment, they certainly will not be thinking about the higher things that spirituality brings. Meeting basic needs is primary. James said this too. If someone needs food, and we only try to preach to them or tell them how much they need Jesus, we are not doing God's work. Sometimes you have to meet the physical need first.
Jesus healed the man and then told him he was forgiven because of his faith.
He told the man because of the friend's faith, he was forgiven. Sometimes our involvement with our fellow man helps to sanctify them. They may be prayed for or cared for or just get a cup of coffee from us, but this is planting a seed.
Finally, keep in mind that as much as we, the church are the friends, we also NEED friends. We all can carry one another. The truth is we all need that. This is why groups are an important part of our church. Developing deep relationships is a vital part of our spirituality. There are times we cannot carry ourselves. It is then when our friends can carry our mats and we can do the same for them. -Meghan