Four Camels

In an article on the “Five Solae” of the Reformation, the author wrote, “The Sola fide doctrine is sometimes called the material cause or principle of the Reformation because it was the central doctrinal issue for Martin Luther and the other reformers. Luther called it the “doctrine by which the church stands or falls” (Latinarticulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae).”  Rather than further ponder the meaning, I’m going to share one of my favorite stories from the Bible.

         One day I thought I was being spiff and tried to teach this story in a foreign language we were translating.  Four men had a friend who was paralyzed.  They carried him to the house that Jesus was teaching in but the house was crammed with people.  The men carried their friend to the roof, that was probably flat, dug through the roof and lowered the man down to the presence of Jesus.  Jesus seeing the faith of the four men, said to the paralyzed man, “Son your sins are forgiven.”  The audience was flabbergasted and mumbled about Jesus forgiving sins.  Jesus knowing their thoughts shows his authority by telling the paralytic to take up his mat and go home.  This is a marvelously intriguing story about faith.

         The women returned to the meeting the following week remembering the story very animatedly.  “Four camels” came into town with a sick man, they shared.  I was confused.  Had I truly talked about camels?  It ends up that the word for friend is “haal” and the word for camel is “haal” but with a different tone!  Whether the man came by camel or friends, faith works marvelously in this story leaving us with a picture of the dynamic of faith.  The friends believed and came to Jesus.  The paralytic believed enough to stand up afterwards!  The crowds were not so believing at first but amazed. “Faith is confidence in what we hope for (our friend will be healed) and assurance about what we do not see (Christ’s power to work beyond what we can even imagine).” Hebrews 11:1.   It works in us, through us to others, and impacts reality even as wind blows in the trees.  Let us not loose hope today as our faith responds to the challenges we face and may we bring others to Christ for healing.  Blessings.

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