What is interesting is that the guy on the mat is almost a sidebar to the story. We know very little about what he thought about the actions of his friends. Was he embarrassed? Had he given up? Was he the only doubter in the crowd? It has always seemed possible to me that he was one of those sufferers who walks our world who had endured and struggled so long that he was overwhelmed and overcome. Getting before Jesus was something he thought to be impossible. When we read the story, we see that he never says a word. Being there has nothing to do with him. Instead, it has everything to do with the muscle and the faith of his friends.
When it seems too dark and too difficult to find our way into the presence of Jesus (and sometimes is does), when we find it impossible to pray the prayers that our heart longs to pray, it is good to have friends who are willing to carry us into the presence of the Christ. This story of the four friends has always seemed to be more about intercessory prayer than anything else. Is there a more powerful definition of intercessory prayer than carrying others into the presence of Jesus. I am grateful for those who have carried me when I could not make it myself and I am sure you have the same gratitude in your heart.