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Verse

Mark 2:3

ESV And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
NIV Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.
NASB And some people *came, bringing to Him a man who was paralyzed, carried by four men.
CSB They came to him bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them.
NLT four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat.
KJV And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

What does Mark 2:3 mean?

Jesus is teaching in a crowded house in Capernaum when four men arrive, carrying a paralytic man on a bed. We aren't told where they're from, how the man was paralyzed, or what relation the men are to their injured friend. We just know that unlike the invalid at Bethesda (John 5:1–9) or the lame beggar at the gate of the temple (Acts 3:1–10), the people in his life are resolved to see him healed.

We are meant to learn something from this example today. The men faced doorways so stuffed with people they couldn't get through, but our access to God is always open. Hebrews 4:16 promises that we can "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need." Paul started his letters with assurances that he regularly prayed for his friends. Praying together was one of the first tasks the early church adopted (Acts 2:42).

A clichéd expression used in Christian circles is that we "lift someone up" to God in prayer. Taken the wrong way, this suggests He's incapable of reaching down. Properly understood, the metaphor stands, since it's meant in the same sense as this story from the gospel of Mark. Like the four men bringing their paralytic friend to Jesus, we are to bring God our concerns and requests about others. We are not assured that Jesus will heal them, but we do know that He will work for good in the lives of those who follow Him (Romans 8:28).
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