He Cannot Help Himself
by Joseph Franks
There is a man who cannot help himself. A terrible hand has been dealt to this individual. He has had big dreams. He has longed for healing and restoration, but the God of miracles has not been so inclined to heal his troubled body. Therefore, he lies in his misery. He cannot please his employer. He cannot assist his neighbor. He cannot provide for his children. He cannot be intimate with his wife. He just lies around, troubled in body and emotions.
However, this is not the extent of his misery. He is also troubled in soul. A terrible heart and nature has been dealt to this individual. He has been affected by the original sin of Adam, and this has been passed down to him by his mother and father. He has been born a sinner. He has then proven his own totally depraved state by adding personal sin upon personal sin. Tragically, his righteousness record started in default, and he has only made matters worse as he has willfully transgressed the ethic of God. In life, every day, he has proven to be more and more like Lucifer and his parents than the Lord. Therefore, he lies in his misery. He cannot keep the Law. He does not want to keep the Law. He cannot and does not please his Creator. He cannot and does not love his neighbor. He just lies around, troubled in body, emotions, and soul. He cannot help himself.
Yet, there is hope. There is good news, for this troubled man has friends, and Jesus has come to his town:
And when he [Jesus] returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-13)
His friends have some degree of faith. They believe Jesus can aid their friend. They believe Jesus can help their impotent brother.
In addition, his friends have a work ethic. They are willing to carry their neighbor to the house where Jesus can be found. And once there, they are willing to be shrewd, creative, and relentless in bringing their friend before the face of the Miracle Worker.
These men are also boldly brazen. They risk offending those who have stood in line to get the best seats in the house. They risk offending the scribes who are always watching, criticizing, and taking notes. For sure they risk angering the home owner who sees his roof being taken apart. In addition, they even risk disturbing Jesus who, if he were like other ministers, might not appreciate someone interrupting his sermon.
However, these bold, zealous, men of faith, they get their friend — who cannot help himself — before the One who can help. They get their impossible to fix brother before the One who does the impossible. And at the end of the day, their troubled friend is healed in body, emotion, and soul. His limbs are restored. His heart is merry. His sins are forgiven. His Holy Creator is satisfied. Yes, the wretched one who cannot help himself is touched by the Savior, and the formerly impotent one can now help himself. He is no longer in bondage. He is one with Christian liberty. He can now serve his God, his employer, his neighbor, his children, and his wife. Because he has the Spirit of God living within and all is well with his soul, he can and must show forth fruits of repentance. He is a new creature; he cannot help himself!
Sick and wounded sinner, Jesus is before you now. Even as you read this devotional blog, he can save your soul and enter into communion with you. Or perhaps you are the greatly burdened prodigal who has turned your back on the lover of your soul. Friend, he is before you with healing balm. Your Father loves you and longs for you to experience afresh the delight of intimate fellowship. Jesus has come to your town. He has come to your house. He is closer to you than your computer screen, computer pad, or mobile device. He may not heal your body immediately, but soul restoration is immediately before you. He has promised to always comfort and forgive those who call out to him. So, why will you lie there in your wicked misery any longer? Why will you be hopeless for even one more minute? Right now, you too can rejoice in the undeserved grace and power of the Savior. Talk to him now. Enjoy his healing now. Confess your wretched misery and be freshly washed by his Holy Spirit. Jesus is still the One who helps those who cannot help themselves.
Then, all of you once impotent but now healed believers, get up from your bed and befriend your neighbors. Go get them and bring them to Jesus. Bring them to your house for a meal. Bring them to your small group. Bring them to church on Sunday and let them witness the worship of the saints. Consider what might transpire if you too were bold, zealous, men and women of faith. On Sunday, your miserable neighbors will hear prayers spoken and sung. On Sunday, they will hear the Word of God read and proclaimed. On Sunday, they might see the sacred meal enjoyed and the sacred washing practiced. Yes, this very weekend, on the Lord’s Day, your miserable and impotent neighbors can see Jesus if you are bold, zealous, men and women of faith. And by the end of this week, you too can have a part in helping those who cannot help themselves. And as it was in Capernaum, many will be found saying, “We never saw anything like this!”