9 Boarding a boat, Jesus crossed to the other side of the lake and went to his own city. 2 People brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a cot. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man who was paralyzed, “Be encouraged, my child, your sins are forgiven.”
3 Some legal experts said among themselves, “This man is insulting God.”
4 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you fill your minds with evil things? 5 Which is easier—to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so you will know that the Human One[a] has authority on the earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“Get up, take your cot, and go home.” 7 The man got up and went home. 8 When the crowds saw what had happened, they were afraid and praised God, who had given such authority to human beings.
Jesus was back home in Capernum and the house where he was proclaiming the word was so full of people, no one could get in through the crowd. Yet the paralyzed man’s friends believed that if they could just get him in front of Jesus, then Jesus would cure him. Jesus recognizes their faith and showing compassion, tells the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, child, your sins are forgiven.” This isn’t what the friends were expecting Jesus to say. They expected Jesus to say “you are cured.” Their goal is physical healing, but Jesus intends to offer more than physical healing. Jesus will give not just physical healing, but spiritual healing and the assurance of forgiveness and a life transformed to this hopeless and paralyzed man.
Unlike today, people believed disease and illness were a judgement caused by the sin of an individual or even one’s own parents. When the legal experts don’t witness a miraculous healing, they immediately think that Jesus has insulted God, because only God can forgive sins. Because Jesus has not healed the paralyzed man, this proves Jesus is not empowered by God. But then Jesus calls them out on their evil thoughts by saying, “so you will know that the Human
One (Son of Man) has authority on the earth to forgive sins,” Jesus says to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your cot, and go home.” Forgiven and healed in mind, body and soul, the man rises and goes home. This miraculous healing is proof to the awed crowd that Jesus has authority and power from God.
Jesus taught us to repent and pray for forgiveness. And in response, God lovingly offers us the gift of forgiveness, the
unmerited grace of God that frees us from sin through Jesus Christ and transforms our lives, mind, body and soul. In the same way the paralyzed man was offered encouragement by Jesus, so we too are offered encouragement and assurance that we are forgiven.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Each time we come to the communion table, we hear the pastor proclaim: Hear the good news: Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that proves God’s love for us. In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven. And we respond with the same assurance: In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven. So be encouraged, we can come to God and confess our sins trusting in God’s love to be forgiven and transformed. Is there something you need to confess to God and receive forgiveness?
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we confess our sin and seek your forgiveness. Transform our lives by your love, In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.