04/05/Su – The Miracle of Forgiveness

Leviticus 2:1-3:17; Mark 2:1-12; Psalms 36:6-9; Proverbs 12:18

NT: “They came to him bringing a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and after digging through it, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: “Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he told the paralytic — “I tell you: get up, take your mat, and go home.” Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone. As a result, they were all astounded and gave glory to God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭2:3-12‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

What a great story – both of the paralyzed man’s friends and their persistent faith, and of the power of forgiveness. The paralytic was literally paralyzed in his sins. Not every malady is caused by someone’s sin, but in this particular case, this man’s rejection of God had opened the door to and brought on a physical condition. The paralytic’s friends cared about him and brought him to Jesus… and when the conventional way was blocked, they persisted and made sure their friend got to where he needed to go. Do we persist in bringing sinful people to Jesus, or do we give up when our first efforts are blocked? What this man needed more than anything was to have his sins dealt with, and that is what Jesus addressed first. Many times, the bondages we have, though they are physically manifested, have a spiritual origin. If we treat only the physical symptoms, we won’t cure the illness. Jesus sought to cure the illness so that the man would be truly free. By claiming to have forgiven the man’s sins, Jesus was, in essence, claiming to be God. When the scribes internally questioned Jesus’ claims, Jesus proved that He was God by both knowing their internal thoughts and demonstrating His authority to forgive by physically healing the paralytic. One of the greatest miracles is the miracle of forgiveness. It breaks bondages and set’s people free. It heals the festering wounds of bitterness and brings life to bodies that have atrophied and died because of sin. Jesus has the power and authority to forgive – and He has given us the power and authority to forgive sins committed against us.

Psalms: “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your judgments like the deepest sea. Lord, you preserve people and animals. How priceless your faithful love is, God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are filled from the abundance of your house. You let them drink from your refreshing stream. For the wellspring of life is with you. By means of your light we see light.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭36:6-9‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

This continues the poetic description of God’s goodness that began in verse 5. Consider the imagery David uses: Mercy/faithful love that reaches beyond our sights into the heavens, faithfulness that reaches as far as we can see to the clouds, righteous that stands strong over everything and becomes a permanent landmark and reference point, justice that goes farther and deeper than we can imagine. From the Highest highs to the lowest lows, encompassing everything we see and going beyond to cover everything we don’t understand – God’s goodness is there and sovereign over it all. Those who choose to trust in God’s goodness, power, and authority are filled with His unending abundance. His abundance – His life is like a refreshing stream that flows from a gushing spring that never runs dry… that always satisfies even when everything else is dry. That is what life is like in the Lord, in the midst of His priceless mercy and faithful love, where sins are forgiven and all is made clear by His light.

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