“And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.” Mark 2:1-2 (NKJV)
When Jesus was in Capernaum the last time He did all kinds of miracles. He cast demons out of people and healed others of their sicknesses. And that appears to be what He did from sunset to late in the night. Early in the morning before the others woke up Jesus got up and went pray. While He was praying Peter came and told Him that there were lots of people looking for Him. It was at this point that Jesus told Peter that He had to go to other places and preach as well.
After a period of time He came back to Capernaum and it seems that everyone found out. As soon as they knew Jesus was there they flooded where He was staying. This is one part of this story I really love. All throughout the Gospels we see the fact that when Jesus went somewhere you couldn’t keep people away.
In my mind I see some of these people as being the people that were looking for Him the last time He was there but not getting to see Him because He left. Imagine all of the stories that must have been told while He was gone. Those that were healed would have talked and talked about Jesus. The excitement and expectation of what He could do and how He could help must have been great.
These people may have missed Him the time before but they weren’t going to miss Him this time. They flooded the place where He was staying. They were crowded into the house. So much so that the house was so crowded there wasn’t room for even one more person, not even outside the door. Houses in that day weren’t nearly as big as the houses we have today are. They would hold about fifty people at the most. This was only if they packed into the house shoulder-to-shoulder. This does seem to be the picture we are being painted here.
Then our example of bulldog Christians come into the story.
“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’” Mark 2:3-5 (NKJV)
They have an objective and nothing is going to stop them from accomplishing this objective. They are going to get their friend to Jesus. He has a need that only Jesus can meet. They arrive at the house and find that it is packed full of people. There is not room for one more person, much less four guys who are carrying another guy on a mat.
Nobody would have blamed them for giving up. They had tried, but the house was full. There was nothing they could do. That might have been enough to deter other people. But these weren’t other people. These were bulldogs that were determined to get their friend to Jesus. They had marked out a path of what needed to be accomplished and nothing was going to keep them from doing this. So they did what any other determined person would have done. They climbed up on the roof, dug their way through and lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus.
Palestinian homes at this time usually had flat roofs. The roof was a common area for rest and quite. Because of this they usually had a staircase that led up to the roof. Roofs usually consisted of some wooden beams overlaid with tree branches and sealed with mud. These four bulldogs determined that the only way they could get their friend to Jesus was to climb the staircase, dig through the room and lower him to Jesus.
Their bulldog determination paid off. Jesus pronounced their friend forgiven of his sins. Later in the story Jesus would go on to physically heal him as well. Because these men were bulldogs that refused to give up their friend was healed physically as well as spiritually. Had they given up and went home, their friend most likely would have remained unchanged. Because they were determined stay the course and complete the objective their friend’s life was impacted for all of eternity.
I wonder what I would have done. Would I have found a way to get my friend to Jesus, or would I have seen the crowd and given up? Quitting would have been so much easier. Plus no one would have thought badly about them for quitting. After all, tearing open the roof isn’t really the actions a rational human would take.
I decided I can’t know what I would have done if I had been them. But I can know what I would do now. Here is how I can know. I asked myself this question. What do I do when it gets hard? Do I quit and go home? Or do I find a way to accomplish my objective?
What about you? When you seek to do something for Jesus and it gets hard what do you do? Do you give up and quit? Or do you keep on keeping on until something happens? I believe God wants us to be bulldogs that just won’t quit until we have accomplished the task He has laid out for us.
If we are going to be bulldog Christians we must determine that quitting is never an option. A couple of summers ago we went to NASA while we were on vacation. While we were there Kelly bought a shirt that said, “Failure is not an option.” I love that, but it’s not realistic. Sometimes failure happens. There are times when we give it our very best and do all that we know to do and we still fail. So we have to be prepared to deal with that. But what do we do when we fail? I think rather than having failure is not an option as our motto, our motto should be quitting is not an option. If we fail we fail, but we won’t quit.
For further study read 2 Corinthians 4:8-14.
What kind of problems did Paul face?
What did he do when these problems came into his life?
Why do verses 13-14 say he did this?