Mark today describes an incident where some friends go to extraordinary lengths to get help for a friend. They were even willing to risk embarrassment and (if this were America) a possible lawsuit.
The passage opens with Jesus “at home” in Capernaum in a house that suggests was either his or that of a close friend. Word gets out that he’s back in town and the neighbors begin to bang on the door, wanting to get close to him. Suddenly, the house is full of uninvited guests wanting to hear a word — so many that “there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door.”
Standing on the fringes of the crowd were some men who had brought with them a “paralyzed man,” carrying him on some mat or stretcher. We don’t know anything else about these men, other than their objective was to get their disabled friend in front of Jesus in what may have been a last-ditch rescue mission to save him from a life of begging in the streets or worse.
The crowd being too thick, the rescuers move immediately to Plan B. They dig a hole through the flat roof of the house and go deep in order to help, lowering their comrade right in front of Jesus regardless of embarrassment, cost or the perception of the others around them.
Here’s the main point: The helpless man on the mat is not too proud to ask for help, he accepts help, and if he had refused their help, he would have made it impossible for his friends to use their gifts.