Saturday in the Third Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26

Forgiveness Is Healing

Today’s passage is truly one of my favorites.  There is so much in it, but I have entitled it, “Forgiveness Is Healing,” and in a moment, we shall see why.  First, we see that Jesus’ popularity is growing.  Luke records that people came from every village of Galilee, Judea, and even Jerusalem.  Also in attendance were the Pharisees and the “teachers of the law.”  So Jesus had now attracted the attention of the Jewish leaders.  At any rate, there were so many at the house where Jesus was staying that the place was packed out; there was not even room at the door.  And the whole time, Jesus “was preaching the word to them.”  Remember, it was to preach the good news about the kingdom of God that he came (Luke 4:43).

Well, it seems that there were four men who couldn’t get through the crowd, but who were not going to be denied.  They had a friend, a “paralytic,” whom they were determined to bring to Jesus.  Unable to get through the door, they mounted the roof (easy to do in those days), made an opening through it, and lowered their poor friend below to Jesus.  Then it says, “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”

Now this is important.  Jesus did not first say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”  Instead, Jesus pronounced the word of forgiveness over the man.  The scribes and religious leaders who were there immediately thought that Jesus was blaspheming; after all, who can forgive sins but God alone?  Yes, we can forgive the sins of one another, but only God can pronounce forgiveness over a sinner for his sins.  In this, the scribes were correct.  But back to my main point.  When Jesus perceived their thoughts (“for he himself knew what was in man, John 2:25), he asked them, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk?’”  In this wonderful statement, Jesus proclaims that forgiveness is healing and healing is forgiveness.  And do we not know that to be the case?  When we are forgiven, isn’t there a relief, a refreshment, a healing in our spirit?  And when we are healed, and raised up from some infirmity, is there not a sense of cleansing in our souls?

Back to the scribes, they were right – only God can forgive sins.  And so Jesus answered, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….”  Yes, only God can forgive sins; Jesus agreed.  So we worship him, Immanuel, God with us.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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