He really doesn’t know what he would do without his friends.

These guys have hardly left his side ever since his illness eight years ago left him paralyzed. Though his sickness is long gone, its lasting effects have changed his life dramatically. He still can’t talk much about it. It’s just too painful to think about the life he had before compared to the life he leads now.

But his friends have been real life-savers. They take him everywhere. Well, everywhere he’s allowed to go. Since everyone assumes his illness and paralysis is a result of sin, nobody really wants him around. He can’t participate in any worship ceremonies or traditions, and he’s only allowed in certain areas around town. But wherever he can go, his friends take him — sometimes on their shoulders if there’s only two of them. But sometimes they carry him on a mat. If all four of them are available, the mat is the easiest; everyone grabs a corner and away they go.

If it weren’t for his four friends, he wouldn’t see or do anything. He’d be a shut-in, spending his days finding whatever he could to keep his mind busy, to keep it from wandering, from worrying and from wasting.

His friends always keep him informed of what’s happening in the city, too. Since they’re all ambulatory and can go places he can’t, they learn all the breaking news way before he does. And he’s okay with that. Because it seems like it’s just another unclean leper here, another poor soul cast out by the priests there. News may be exciting and — well, new — but it’s seldom good. Sometimes getting information delayed a day or two isn’t all bad.

But lately, there has been some good news! Or, at least, not bad news — and that’s really the same thing anyway, right?

The guys say there’s some kind of miracle worker in town. He’s already healed dozens of people in Capernaum. He healed the mother-in-law of one of His followers and even a man with a demon. Actually, several people who had demons. One of his friends even said this Healer kept telling the demons not to speak — as if they knew who He was or something. The Man has been healing people of all kinds of diseases and teaching in the synagogue. They say everyone is listening to Him with rapt attention.  He speaks with an unusual authority.

“Sounds like he’s quite a guy,” he says to his friends. “He’s only eight years too late. Maybe if He had been here then, I wouldn’t be like this now.”

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