From forgivness to healing … What are you choosing?

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” Mark 2:9-11

Jesus meets us where we are when we come to Him. He told the paralytic that His sins were forgiven. That’s what the paralytic needed to address first.

Jesus also knew what the teachers of the Law were thinking … only God has authority to forgive sins. They were right.

Jesus met their thinking with a question:

Which is easier, to forgive or to heal?

A former guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister had been held approached her after she spoke at a Munich church:

I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’“ …

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’ …

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”

Corrie Ten Boom chose to lift her hand towards the man. She also chose to pray, asking God to give her the emotion of forgiveness that she could not stir up within her. God met Corrie Ten Boom where she was when she took action to forgive as the Word of God commands. At that moment, I believe that Corrie Ten Boom was healed of her past hurts, as God’s intense love coursed through her veins.

Which was easier for Corrie Ten Boom to do, speak about forgiveness in a Munich church or to lift her hand to her former guard?

Jesus came to teach, to heal, to disciple His followers and ultimately to die on the cross, taking on the wrath of God as payment for the world’s sins–my sins, your sins–so that we could obtain forgiveness.

Jesus chose to allow sinful men to beat Him, to scourge Him, to nail Him to the cross. As Jesus hung on that cross, He took on the sins of those who lived before Him, the sins of those who lived in His time, and the sins of those who would live in the future. Jesus chose to pay the consequences of those sins by taking on the wrath of His Father. He paid the price for the world’s sins, for my sins, for your sins.

Which was easier for Jesus to do … heal the paralytic or hang on the cross and become sin for the paralytic?

His question was an either/or question to the crowd in a Capernaum house that day. Jesus chose to heal the paralytic to demonstrate His power over the world’s natural laws, and He chose to forgive the paralytic’s sins to demonstrate the power of the Son of Man, the One who paid the price for sin, the One who brought forgiveness to man.

My prayer for you:

Merciful Father, may we understand the cost of our sins and the depth of Your love. We do not understand that kind of sacrifice, a sacrifice that necessitated Jesus becoming our sins, a sacrifice of You pouring out Your wrath upon Your own dear Son. All because You desire to be with Your children for eternity. What an awesome God You are! We fall down at Your feet and glorify Your name!

What choices are you making to forgive others?

What healing are you experiencing from that forgiveness?

Jesus heals paralytic … 3 hopes, 1 unexpected result

Imagine that you live in Israel, and your rooftop is flat. You use it like America uses a backyard. Tiles line the rooftop, and you’ve even filled an area with dirt and have grass growing on the rooftop to provide a little extra insulation. To get to the rooftop, you’ve built stairs on the side of the house.

One day, Jesus comes to your door, and you invite Him in. You call a few friends over, so that they can listen to His teachings. Soon, there are so many friends and neighbors in your home, it is impossible to move, and people are looking inside from the open windows and doors.

“Hey, Jesus is in Capernaum; let’s carry our friend to the house where He’s staying.”

The men arrive at the house, and they scurry from the doorway to the windows and back to the doorway. No way to get in.

“I know, we’ll carry him to the rooftop, dig through the dirt, remove the tiles, and lower him on his pallet.”

Clods of dirt fall from the ceiling. The crowd looks up as the rooftop hole gets bigger. One of the men peers through the hole, and then a pallet emerges from the hole.

Jesus looks up and perhaps smiles as the paralytic is lowered to His feet.

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5

“What’s that about? We want our friend healed!”

The teachers of the Law thought, “That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins.”  But Jesus knew what they were thinking.

Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven;” or to say “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk?”

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”  Mark 2:9-12

The Hope

  1. The hope of the crowd was to hear Jesus teach the Word. Perhaps they were hoping to see a miracle. They had faith that Jesus could work miracles.
  2. The hope of the paralytic was that his friends could bring him to Jesus for a healing. He had faith in his friends.
  3. The hope of the friends was that they could get their friend to Jesus. The friends knew that Jesus would heal their friend, and they were committed to do anything they needed to do to bring their friend to Jesus.

The Unexpected

The paralytic and the friends were hoping for a miracle of healing. Yet, Jesus always addressed the first priority in a person’s life, and for the paralytic, it was sin.

Everyone said that they had never seen anything like that and glorified God. They knew that Jesus could heal, but this time, Jesus used the healing to show that He also had authority to forgive sins. That authority made Jesus equal with God!

My Prayer for You

Heavenly Father, thank You for addressing our most pressing needs first. Many times, we come to you with what we think are our needs, not realizing that they are secondary to what we really need to address. Thank You for friends who have faith enough to bring us to You at all costs. May we sit at Your feet as You address our needs, and may everyone see the work that You are doing in our lives and give God the glory.

What are you hoping for?