January 12, 2022

Bringing my Neighbor to Jesus

Luke 5:17-26

They went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

—  Luke 5:19

Large crowds were following Jesus wherever he went. People were hungry for his teaching. Many people came mainly to see his miracles or to ask for one for themselves.

Hope for healing could be huge for people who had no medical care. We can imagine the paralyzed man living without hope, until he heard about Jesus the miracle worker. Some neighbors got together and carried this man to Jesus.

When they arrived and saw that they could not get into the house because the crowd was so big, they hoisted their friend to the roof and lowered him “right in front of Jesus.”

Jesus did not disappoint. First he met the man’s deepest spiritual need, forgiving his sins. Then Jesus met the man’s physi­cal need, making him able to walk again. The man “went home praising God.”

About seven years ago, a dear colleague was hospitalized with terminal cancer. Inspired by this story, four of us who were friends of his met him in his room, wheeled him out to a patio, and shared Scripture and prayer with him in the presence of Jesus.

Jesus did not heal his cancer that day. But Jesus had already forgiven our friend’s sins. And some weeks later, our friend “went home praising God” for all eternity.

Father in heaven, we often see neighbors in need and feel helpless. Remind us that we can show your love and kindness, praying with them in your presence, in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen. (AM)

About the author — Al Mulder and Bonny Mulder-Behnia

Al Mulder served as a church pastor in Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico and in ministry roles with denominational missions in North America. He is a member of Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Al and Joanna Meyer, both widowed, married in 2020. Together they have eight children, 19 grandchildren, and 22 great-grandchildren.

Bonny Mulder-Behnia began work in ministry after a career in journalism. While serving on staff at Madison Square Church, Grand Rapids, and later at Rosewood Church in Bellflower, Calif., she completed seminary training and is now a copastor at Rosewood Church. Bonny is married to Jahangir Behnia and has two children and one grandchild.

As father and daughter, Al and Bonny have a shared passion for multicultural ministry. Their initials (AM and BMB) indicate which meditations they have written for the month of January.

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