“Therefore [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25 NIV).
I believe that small groups are a vital part of helping so-called hopeless people find healing. One of the parts I like best about being in a small group is that you can pray for one another’s “hopeless” cases. We can lean upon the faith of others when we start to doubt.
In Luke 5, there’s a great story of a small group of men who took a friend who was paralyzed and in need of healing to the feet of Jesus. In this account, we find seven characteristics of a small group that God uses to heal. Today we’re going to look at three of those characteristics, and tomorrow we’ll look at the rest.
Compassion: This man was healed because his friends cared. It all starts with us caring about people who are hurting. Romans 15:2 says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord” (NLT, second edition). God used these guys because they were sensitive to a friend’s need. And he’ll use us when we aren’t preoccupied with our own needs and start caring more about others than we do ourselves.
Faith: The men believed God would heal their friend. Take a look at Luke 5:20: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’” (NIV). It wasn’t the paralytic’s faith that made him well; it was the faith of his friends. How many people do you know who are so paralyzed they can’t believe in God? That’s when we have to believe for them.
Intervention: These friends didn’t just pray for their friend; they took action as well. It’s not enough just to pray for someone who is hurting and caught in sin. We have to take action. Jesus says in Luke 14:23, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” There is a slew of examples in the Bible of people taking others to Jesus.
Talk It Over
- What does hopelessness look like?
- Do you believe that no one is outside Jesus’ reach? If so, what are you willing to do about bringing “hopeless” people to Jesus?
- What hurting friend have you been praying for? What can you do to take action and help that person heal?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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