There is a deep healing in forgiveness.
In His home region of Capernaum, a crowd filled a house to hear Him speak of the Kingdom of God. Perhaps there were as many motives for being there as there were people: curiosity, despair, pain, desperation, boredom. Any crowd is a gathering of such emotions as well as one of names, faces, and stories.
Friends of a paralyzed man brought him to the door but not through it; it was blocked by people in the crowd, each one focused on his own situational paralysis with no thought for the invalid and his friends.
So they came through the roof.
This gained them the full attention of the Lord Jesus. He saw men of compassion, ingenuity, and organized strength. He saw their faith. He looked at their paralyzed friend and said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
That was nice but it wasn’t what they came for. They needed for Jesus to break the brokenness of their friend, to relieve him of his misery and them of their burden. The paralysis was real—it was present and unrelenting. Sins? Everybody had sins. Forgiven sins would not make their friend any lighter in their tiring arms.
He crossed a line.
Others in the crowd were surprised by the line this “son of Joseph and Mary” had crossed. Miracles were wonderful to see. They brought hope for more miracles and a faint confidence in the Jehovah they had heard about all their lives. But forgiving sins? That was a whole different issue. Miracles could be seen, like mental before-and-after-photos today. But sins, forgiven or otherwise, were spiritual things, blurry to the mind and invisible to the eye. Anyway, miracles were useful to people but sin forgiving was only God’s business and it was best left to Him.
“Which is easier,” Jesus asked, “To heal the body or to forgive sins?”
He had a way with questions that tended to silence the questioners.
“So that you may believe in me,” Jesus turned to the man on the mat and his friends still breathing hard from the work, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
He did exactly that, to the amazement of the crowd.
In this season of Lent, each of us tries to get to the real Jesus. We need to touch Him, to see Him, and to be changed by Him. We see His sufferings and beyond those we see His triumph–not just the crucifixion, but the empty cross and the forsaken tomb.
To look at the empty cross is like
- Looking into the manger to see God in the flesh, or
- reading the Gospels to see the Son of God at work, or
- hearing the matchless music of His voice, or
- beholding His glory in prayer and worship.
To do these things is to be changed. Not only are we forgiven—no longer guilty—but we are welcomed into His presence.
And we didn’t even have to come through the roof.
There is a deep healing in forgiveness.
Mark 2:1-12 NIV
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
1 John 1:9-10 NIV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Lord Jesus, all I have to do is believe in You, to somehow touch the hem of Your garment with my faith and repentance and I will be forgiven of my sins. Paralyzed by disobedience no longer, I can rise, take up my life and walk. As I walk in this amazing forgiveness today, help me also be a forgiver of those who have struck at me. My freewill offering today is one of humility, repentance, and thanksgiving. I will know your deliverance in my heart and see it in my friends. Amen.
The Healing Waters
Words: H.H. Helmar; Music: L.L. Pickett
1. Oh, the joy of sins forgiv’n, Oh, the bliss the blood-washed know,
Oh, the peace akin to Heav’n, Where the healing waters flow.
Where the healing waters flow, Where the joys celestial glow,
Oh, there’s peace and rest and love, Where the healing waters flow!
2. Now with Jesus crucified, At His feet I’m resting low;
Let me evermore abide Where the healing waters flow.
3. O, this precious, perfect love! How it keeps the heart aglow,
Streaming from the fount above, Where the healing waters flow.
4. Oh, to lean on Jesus’ breast, While the tempests come and go!
Here is blessèd peace and rest, Where the healing waters flow.
5. Cleansed from every sin and stain, Whiter than the driven snow,
Now I sing my sweet refrain, Where the healing waters flow.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved