An Artistic Dramatization of Mark 2:1-12
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” –Mark 2:4-5
Gaius looked at his friend, Ahiram. It had been ten years since the accident when Ahiram fell from the ravine. He survived, but his legs and spine were twisted beyond repair. All those who practiced healing in the village had no answers; no remedy. If Ahiram were to walk again, he would need a miracle.
In those ten years, Gaius remained a faithful friend. In fact, there were five of them who were more like brothers than friends. There was Eitan who tended goats and could laugh up a storm with his crazy jokes, and then there was Beriah who was always so calm and thoughtful. Gauis had always been the peacemaker between the two. And then there was Iskar, the artist among them who created stunning pottery and mosaics. As for Ahiram, he was the adventurous type who climbed trees, swam deep rivers, and explored caves. This was, of course, before Ahiram’s foot slipped in that dangerous climb up Golan Heights.
Running footsteps were heard outside Gaius’ door where four of the five friends had already arrived for an afternoon snack of lentil soup and lafa bread. A breathless Eitan appeared, gasping, “Have you heard of that Rabbi who could heal? They say he makes the blind see and the lame walk!”
“You mean that ordinary Galilean carpenter from Nazareth?” asked Beriah, gulping down soup. “Now, what kind of good can come from Galilee?”
“Woodwork!” piped up Iskar with a chuckle and a poke.
Eitan laughed. “Galilee has really good chickpeas and tahini, you know!”
Beriah rolled his eyes, making Gaius shake his head. “Chickpeas or not,” Gaius said, “If the rabbi can heal, then why not bring Ahiram to him?”
“Yes, why not? You’ll have your chickpeas either way, Beriah!” joked Eitan. He, Gaius, Iskar, and Beriah looked at Ahiram, who was lying despondently on a mat and chewing on some bread.
“I’ve tried all sorts of things to walk again,” replied Ahiram. I’m afraid I shall be disappointed.”
“But it’s worth a shot!” exclaimed Eitan stubbornly.
“I think we should go to this Rabbi,” mused Iskar. “Half of Capernaum pretty much follows this guy wherever he goes!”
“Exaggerating now, are we?” snorted Beriah.
Gaius intervened. “I have a neighbor who told me that this Yeshua can make the blind see. If he does miracles indeed, Ahiram should go. Let’s not waste this!”
“And how?” asked Ahiram. “There will be a crowd. You will tire yourselves out carrying me, waiting for the crowd to thin… and there is no guarantee that the Rabbi will see me and heal me!”
“But it’s worth a shot!” exclaimed Eitan. “I say we carry you and stay with you till the Rabbi heals you!”
“I’m game,” replied Gaius. “How about you, Beriah, Iskar? Best if we see this miracle worker in person.”
“We’re in!” exclaimed Beriah, Eitan, and Iskar.
“And you, Ahiram?” asked Gaius. “We want you to walk again. We want you to climb! If you have no more faith in the possibility of a miracle, then we shall believe for one!”
Ahiram looked at his hopeful friends and felt his heart stir. Perhaps there was some truth in this Rabbi Yeshua. Perhaps the reports were indeed true. Perhaps he could be healed?
Unknown to his best friends, Ahiram had nursed dark thoughts beyond the physical pain and loss of his legs. He struggled with the psychology of paralysis. He couldn’t help but wonder: were his paralyzed legs the result of his private sins? His parents’ sins? Did he fall from the mountain because of a curse in his life? Was God angry with him? Did God want to separate him from the rest of the people of Israel?
“Let’s carry you, Ahiram!” exclaimed Eitan, breaking the paralytic’s thoughts. “Flying carpet time!”
“Pretend our hands are invisible!” laughed Beriah.
The four friends took hold of the four corners of Ahiram’s mat and carried Ahiram on a makeshift gurney. It wasn’t hard to know the whereabouts of Rabbi Yeshua. The whole town was abuzz with him. The house where the Rabbi taught that afternoon was filled to overflowing. In fact, there was a crowd outside, all waiting to get in.
There was no way for the four friends to maneuver Ahiram inside. It was stuffy, crammed, and plain rude to push everyone away so that Ahiram could be seen by the Rabbi.
Undaunted, Iskar had an idea. “Let’s dig through the roof!”
“Whaaat?!” exclaimed Beriah, Gaius, and Ahiram, shocked at their highly creative friend.
“The roof sounds spectacular!” replied Eitan, is eyes shining.
The four friends carried Ahiram up the roof carefully. The roof was made out of clay and straw, capable of being broken into chunks and slabs, with the help of some simple tools and their bare hands. The young men decidedly dug, lifted, and uncovered the roof. As parts of the roof crumbled downward, people inside the house gave sharp gasps of surprise. Slowly, the four determined friends steadied the mat on its gurney of rope, cloth, and wood and lowered Ahiram who rode on his “flying carpet.”
Yeshua looked at the four friends and their paralytic friend with amusement. “Aren’t you glad the whole house didn’t collapse when you started to break the roof apart?”
The friends smiled guiltily. The crowd inside the house burst into laughter, some even applauding the ingenuity of the friends. Some, of course, weren’t amused.
Nevertheless, Yeshua looked at the five. He saw the faith of Ahiram’s friends. He saw the lack of faith in Ahiram, and yet, also his struggles. “Son,” he said to Ahiram. “Your sins are forgiven,” He said kindly.
The words of the Rabbi struck Ahiram’s heart. Forgiven? God wasn’t angry with him? Only the Messiah would know the hidden struggles of Ahiram regarding his paralysis. Now everyone watching—all the witnesses, including himself—would no more think that he deserved this paralysis because of sin. An accident was an accident. God wasn’t mad.
Ahiram shed some tears, comforted. He called me “Son,” Ahiram whispered to himself. The accident wasn’t a curse meant to separate him from the rest of the covenant people of Israel. He felt his faith rise inside him.
There were some teachers of the law in the house, and one of them shouted, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
“Why are you thinking these things?” asked Yeshua. “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?”
Yeshua looked at everyone watching. “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
He looked at Ahiram with a twinkle. “I tell you, Ahiram, get up. Take your mat and go home.”
Ahiram nodded. He felt strength rising up his legs and spine. Looking first at Yeshua, and then at his friends, He raised himself up on his legs. Then he bent, took his mat, and walked out in full view of them all.
Gaius, Eitan, Beriah, and Iskar shouted triumphantly. Their friend was healed! It was a miracle! And this Rabbi—was he only JUST a Rabbi?
“I believe this Yeshua is the Messiah whom Israel has been waiting for,” Beriah said, thunderstruck.
“I believe that, too,” agreed Gaius.
Eitan and Iskar nodded, praising Yeshua and shouting their delight at Ahiram.
Everyone who watched the miracle erupted in massive, joyous declarations. The crowd proclaimed, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Eitan grinned from ear to ear. “Whew! What a day! Hey, did we leave some soup in the pot? I’m hungry with all that carrying and roof smashing!”
The four friends laughed, hurrying down the roof as they rejoined Ahiram who stood erect and tall, his mat folded in his hands.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.