"But (redeemed) with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Text: 1 Peter 1:19
GOD’S GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP
The Scriptures record more than just doctrines. Words of practical wisdom may also be found in the Bible. Instances of special friendships are also recorded in the Holy Writ.
The friendship that David and Jonathan cultivated in Old Testament times was of legendary proportions. Jonathan braved much for the sake of his friendship with David. He even risked the wrath of his vengeful father, King Saul (Cf. 1 Samuel 18-20).
The friendship of the four friends and the paralytic must also go down in history as something very special. The following things may be said about the four friends the paralytic was privileged to enjoy.
Several things stand out about these four friends:-
1. There must have been a bond of love among the friends
Their friendship was not casual. There must have been a strong bond of love among them, if they were to continue with their friendship even though one of them was now a paralytic. To give meaningful friendship to a paralytic is no mean feat. Much would have to be put into that friendship. Three aspects of love may be highlighted.
a) Love sometimes means devoting time
Caring for the sick always involves the element of time. Time may have to be given to look into the paralytic before his friends could go out to their regular work. Time must also be devoted after the day’s labour to look after the paralytic.
b) Love sometimes means giving to meet obvious needs
Basic needs must still be met! Family and good friends would have to make some sacrifices to meet obvious needs.
c) Love sometimes means putting in much physical effort
Caring for one who is physically disabled is most challenging. Among the four friends, duties would have to be divided so that their friends could be cared for properly.
2. There must have been a bond of great strength among the friends
In most circumstances, when a severe illness like paralysis strikes, the family would be the main care-givers. If ever there would be a search for a cure, family members would be the ones expected to make that effort. But the Gospel of Mark notes that the friends of the paralytic were the ones who made the effort to bring him to Jesus to be healed (Cf. Mark 2:3).
The following proverb comes to mind as we dwell on this subject of friendship.
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly;
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”