“Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you’ ” (Luke 5:18-20).
How can you know the faith another person has? Can a person’s faith be seen or is just something that they keep inside and is known only between themselves and God?
Luke records an instance where Jesus saw the faith of some individuals who came to Him. Jesus had been teaching and multitudes were following Him. He had been healing many of their infirmities (Luke 5:15). In fact, the crowds following Him were so great that many had difficulty being able to get close to Him (cf. Mark 2:1-2). There were 4 men who wanted to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus, but they were unable to get close enough for Jesus to heal Him (Mark 2:3). Did they lose faith and just give up because the obstacles appeared too great to bring their friend close to Jesus?
No, they displayed their faith in Jesus by continue to persist in their efforts to reach Jesus and they went up on top of the roof in the house where Jesus was teaching, uncovered the roof, lowered their friend on the bed on which he had been laying, and thus placed him in the presence of Jesus (Luke 5:18-19; cf. Mark 2:4). It was an amazing sight which certainly caught the attention of everyone’s eye in the room where Jesus had been teaching.
How did Jesus react to this? He “saw their faith” (Luke 5:20; Mark 2:5). He then says to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5:20). After correcting the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus then says to the paralyzed man, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house (Luke 5:24; Mark 2:11). Then man gets up, takes up his bed, and departed to his own house, glorifying God (Luke 5:25; Mark 2:12).
James reminds us of how our faith needs to been seen not just hidden deep inside of us. He writes, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:18). Jesus reminds us of how our actions in serving God display our faith and will lead to others glorifying God: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Can Jesus see my faith? Opportunities arise each day for us to allow Jesus and others to “see our faith”. We can let our faith be seen by serving others and by submitting ourselves to God’s commands (John 14:15). We also show our faith by courageously standing up for God’s principles and continuing to persist in prayer as we commit the things that are heavy on our hearts over to God’s care (1 Peter 5:7). Like the paralytic and his friends, I want Jesus to be able to see my faith! Today, I will strive to have a faith that not only does exist, but also can be seen!
“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (James 2:20-23).