Weekly devotional: Forgiveness of sins (5 in Jesus’ miracles series)

Photo: edenpictures on flickr

Photo: edenpictures on flickr

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. (Matthew 9:1–7)

 News of Jesus’ healing was spreading, so concerned friends of a paralyzed man decide to take him to Jesus for healing. Matthew doesn’t tell us about the extraordinary measures the friends took to get the man to Jesus – lowering him through a hole in the roof – for he wants to focus on the conversation between Jesus and the teachers of the law.

Jesus tells the man that his sins are forgiven, and this immediately sets off alarm bells in the scribes and experts in Judaism. Forgiving sins can only be done by God, they know, which is why they accuse Jesus of blasphemy. Jesus, however, knowing their unspoken evil thoughts, responds. He knows that they believe that people won’t be healed unless their sins are forgiven. A way to show them his power as the Son of Man is to heal the paralyzed man – and to forgive his sins.

Receiving forgiveness can bring about healing, sometimes even physical, but that doesn’t mean that people who are struggling with disease or deformity are riddled with unconfessed sin. We’ll only fully be free when we enter the land of no more tears or crying or death. Until then, may we continue to present ourselves to Jesus, confessing our sins and receiving his cleansing forgiveness.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, what friends that man had to care for him so deeply. Show me this day how I can show love to my friends.

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