The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang was a gang in the American Wild West, which took its name from the Hole-in-the-Wall Pass in Johnson County, Wyoming, where several outlaw gangs had their hideouts. If you saw the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, then you have heard of this gang.
Every time I read Mark 2 where Jesus heals the paralytic I think of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. This was a group of 4 men that were trying to get their crippled friend in to see Jesus so that he could be healed. The problem though was they couldn’t get in because it was so packed that they had to cut a hole in the roof. I guess you could call them the Hole-in-the-Roof Gang.
And when he 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.” Mark 2:1-5 ESV
Can’t you just see Jesus standing in the middle of this packed house preaching and suddenly someone starts pounding and hacking away at the roof, busting a hole in it? There would be trash, thatch, dirt and all kinds of things falling into the crowd. I think about how cool it would be for that to happen at our church. For the building to be so packed that you couldn’t fit any more people in it. Then suddenly some guys take a saws-all to the roof and cut through the metal and insulation to get in and hear The Word preached.
This is one of my favorite passages from Mark because of this incident but then the other day something stood out to me. It’s the part that says “when Jesus saw their faith”. You see, it wasn’t the faith of the paralyzed man but the faith of his 4 friends that led to his healing and forgiveness. This man didn’t have the means to get to Jesus because he was paralyzed but his friends knew if they could get him there then Jesus could save him.
We all have friends and family that are paralyzed too. Maybe not physically like this man was but paralyzed by fear, paralyzed by doubt, paralyzed by guilt or pain. Paralyzed because of resentment over being hurt in some church in the past. They are paralyzed and can’t get to Jesus on their own. We are the only way some of these people will ever get to Jesus to be healed. Surveys show that ninety-six percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if they are invited. And yet only 21 percent of active churchgoers invite anyone to church during a year. We need to be more like the 4 men in Mark. We need to be bold in bringing people to Jesus.
Share the Gospel with someone this week and invite them to church. God will not only bless them but us also. If you don’t know Jesus and want to talk about how you can have a relationship with Him, just click the Contact Me link at the top of the site page and I’d be happy to talk with you.