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The Tenacity of They

And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."

Mark 2:5
The Tenacity of They Book Cover

the tenacity of they

Read the words of Mark 2:1–5 in your Bible. Put your finger on or circle the word “they,” every time you see it. How many times did you read the word in this short passage? How did “they” interact in the description of the passage? Did you notice that they never uttered a word? Yet, this “They” move the action of the passage along; bringing, removing, letting down.

The nameless, anonymous They of this passage demonstrated such a love for their paralyzed friend that Jesus himself was moved.

The beauty in this passage is captured by Jesus’ response: Jesus saw their faith, then forgave, and then healed, their friend. It wasn’t just their arms that hoisted the friend’s limp weight, cracked the ceiling, and gently lowered him down; it was their belief that Jesus could touch their friend. That belief carried him when he was without the strength to do it on his own. These friends were not bothered with the crowds; they were laser-focused on getting their friend in front of Jesus. This type of diligence and determination is how we should all be pursuing friendships—part of loving well means laying our friends’ lives before Jesus.

Yesterday, we considered the example of the ants, and how we, like them, should move toward the goal of Jesus, and encourage our friends to do the same.

But what if we can’t move?

Each of us will face situations that paralyze us with fear, grief, and doubt. Bankruptcy. Abuse. The death of a child. An unexpected career change. A breakup. Depression. When these paralyzing circumstances catch up to us in this fallen world, we can despair. We sometimes give up on talking to God at all, much less asking him to intervene.

The ministry of They is most potent when we’re paralyzed. Like the freshman girl caught in the storm in Day 2, our friends can intercede for us through prayer and faith when we lack the strength to do it on our own. This faith of friends is a gift of the Spirit that benefits the people of God (1 Corinthians 12:7, 9). We can lean on godly friends during those times when we cannot stand. And sister, it’s okay to lean on friends when those times come.

When our friend is paralyzed, we get to trade places in encouragement. We get to lower our friend’s circumstances in front of the Savior and beg him to act on her behalf. In the ebb and flow of life, sometimes we lean and sometimes we carry. Intercession—talking to God about bringing healing to your friend—is a powerful and intimate opportunity to care, selflessly. The burden on our hearts may be substantial, but so are the rewards. As we engage in the ministry of They, we get to lighten the load on our friends. But not only that; sometimes, like the nameless They of Mark 2, we get to be firsthand witnesses to God’s breakthrough response. The privilege of witnessing the awesome power of the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven, right in front of us? It’s holy. It’s transformative. It’s worth it.


Leader Guide


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Not Alone

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A Theology of Friendship

Daily Question

Recall a time where a friend brought you before Christ. Spend time in prayer thanking God for that friend.

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Comments (10)

I had been dating a Christian man before I had accepted Christ & every morning he would get up & spend time in the Bible. Later in our relationship, he had decided to end it & I was devastated. Before this he had given me a bible. I started reading it not knowing anything about a relationship with Christ. But it was because of this, I ended up going to Saddleback, searching for something more in my life because once again I was alone. I ended up accepting Christ.

I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household and had no knowledge of Jesus before I was 13 years old At that time my father had died and my mother moved us (Mom, me, and my brother and sister) to a new neighborhood where she would have support from her parents who would be neighbors. The girls in the neighborhood befriended me, and invited me to join them for their youth fellowship meetings at their church, just up the street I went, and before long I learned about Christianity, Jesus, and how wonderful this fellowship would be. I joined, and have worshipped as a Christian ever since. That was 57 years ago, and I am still close friends with those women, and many of the parishioners of that small Methodist church.

My friend Alicia brought me to Jesus in prayer when I was struggling with serious physical health issues that were a scary and challenging to go through at that time! I truly thank God for her as she’s always there to pray with and encourage me.

Our entire Church family surrounded my family when my husband was being deployed. That was many years ago but I am forever grateful for their prayers. They promised to lift us up in prayers on a daily basis while he was away.

A few years ago, I signed up for a mentoring program in our church. A wonderful Christian woman had joined a group of others who prayed daily over our names, asking God to help them make good mentoring matches. I was led by that very same woman thru 6 months of daily prayers, asking and leaning on God to help me make a very important decision that would affect my life, as well as my children’s’ lives. She taught me how to talk to God. My prayer was answered.❤️

I praise & thank God for love, support, & prayers for my growth from Coco in July 2020 and from the Shepherd LG Mamas continuously throughout 2021.

I really don’t remember any friend bringing me before Christ. I do remember a friend that lived close to me, we use to attend church together. I’m thankful for that friendship when we were young and growing up together. I thank God for all my friends in my life today. God always know just what we need. God is good like that. I love Him so much!

I’m just beginning to grow friendships with women of faith. Man have I been missing out! I haven’t experienced just yet a friend bringing me before Christ and spending time in prayer but I have had a stranger stop me and pray with me. It was a very powerful moment. The Spirit spoke to her right there in Costco and told her I was hurting. I was on the verge of tears before she came to me. She prayed over me and I will never forget that moment.

This story resonates in my heart as I have visually pictured myself being carried by my friends to the feet of Jesus when I could not carry myself. The paralytic man was me…except my paralysis was not physical but emotional. I was deep in greif to the point that I felt like I could not see the end in site. It was hard. It was arduous. It was painful. But I thank God everyday for my tribe. It wasn’t just A friend…it was all of them praying and carrying me when I just couldn’t carry myself.

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