Unbelievably, when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus, we are actually forgiven!
It seems too simple, too good to be true, but it is the truth—the Gospel truth. Jesus was always a step ahead of His critics; they were no match for Him in the brains department.
Back to Nazareth
He and the disciples crossed back across Galilee and journeyed south to Nazareth. As so often happened, friends of a paralyzed man brought the poor guy to Jesus. The crowd got ready to see another healing miracle, including the scribes who were trying figure out what to do next. If He were simply a healer through some mystical connection with God, that was no threat to them. If they could enlist Him as an ally, He might even be useful to them.
When Jesus saw the faith of the paralytic’s companions, His commendation was a surprise:
“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
The watchful scribes all took the same deep breath and had the same silent thought,
“This Man blasphemes!”
Though not a word was spoken, Jesus knew their hearts so He conversed with their thoughts.
“Why do you think evil in your hearts?
For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?
This logic left no room for a reply. Sicknesses were individualized problems so healings were nice and could easily be attributed to God. Sin was a different thing altogether. Not everyone was sick but everyone had sinned! Healings were wonderful but the forgiveness of sins was for God alone. To their silence, Jesus replied that a healing here would prove His point:
But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
Like all the other times, it happened. The man’s frozen legs began to limber. Bones started popping so loud the people heard them. With a few stretches of his newly loosened limbs the man stood up to the amazement of the crowd. He flexed new muscles and picked up the bed they carried him on and went home. There was nothing to do but marvel at the power of Jesus and believe that God was the source of it. As the man journeyed home in his newfound strength, there was also a new feeling in his heart—the joy of being forgiven.
Passing from the scene, Jesus saw a tax collector named Matthew. He called him to join His men with the same words used before:
Matthew obeyed and as he committed to Jesus and believed in Him, his sins were forgiven. He invited Jesus and the others to a dinner to meet his friends. Jesus was happy to attend. When critics arose to challenge this behavior, Jesus set them straight. Those who are well have no need of a physician as do those who are sick. He challenged them to go and learn what they should already have known: that deeds of mercy were the coinage of the Kingdom of God,
“For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
He had the power to heal and to forgive sins.
So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Lord Jesus, Your power is great both to heal and forgive sins. Where would I be if You hadn’t both healed and delivered me from sin? Like Matthew, You have also called me to serve You and I am happy to do so. Keep me free from sin by the power of Your Spirit. Keep me well by the stripes they put on Your back. Keep me in the traces where You put me by the power of Your blood and the might of Your name. Amen and amen.
My Sins Are Gone
Words and Music: N. B. Vandall
1. You ask why I am happy
So I’ll just tell you why,
Because my sins are gone.
And when I meet the scoffers
Who ask me where they are,
I say my sins are gone.
They’re underneath the Blood
On the Cross of Calvary,
As far removed as darkness is from dawn.
In the sea of God’s forgetfulness,
That’s good enough for me.
Praise God my sins are gone
2. ‘Twas at the old time altar
Where God came in my heart
And now my sins are gone.
The Lord took full possession
The devil did depart.
I’m glad my sins are gone.
3. When Satan comes to tempt me
And tries to make me doubt.
I say my sins are gone.
You got me into trouble.
But Jesus got me out.
I’m glad my sins are gone
4. I’m living now for Jesus
I’m happy night and day
Because my sins are gone
My soul is filled with music
With all my heart I say
I know my sins are gone
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.