Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
A powerful event in the life of Jesus, recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke, is the paralytic brought to Jesus by several men bearing him on a stretcher.
Matthew 9:2 reads,
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."
Notice the wording of this verse. When Jesus saw their faith He told the man his sins were forgiven. This is hard for us to swallow in our individualistic society. We think of spirituality as only one on one with God. But this lone wolf Christianity is not found in the Bible. We come to our Heavenly Father as a family. In Ephesians 2:20-22 we read that we are built up together as a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Lord indwells His church. Jesus established His church so we would pray, trust and experience Him together.
In the church we encourage one another's faith. You may have heard this important truth before. You need other believers in your life to help you process what is teaching you from scripture. You should have someone who is more mature than you spiritually. You need people who are struggling along at about the same place as you. And you need someone who is not as far along in the journey. I have discovered that the person less mature than me in many areas often encourages and strengthens my tenuous faith. And God often gives clear insight to a weaker believer to help me see and believe.
The most astounding thing in this passage may be that Jesus forgave the man's sins because of the others' faith. In the church we even believe for one another. This is not an uncommon experience in the church. Someone is facing a crisis that requires greater faith than she has. She shares the situation with other believers. They begin praying together and the others believe for her as well as with her.