Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6/22/11 - Courage, child, your sins are forgiven

Matthew 9:1-8

1 He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.

2 And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven."

3 At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."

4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, "Why do you harbor evil thoughts?

5 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?

6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."

7 He rose and went home.

8 When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.


I've read this episode many times. What struck me today is Christ's initial response to the paralytic: "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." The first thing Jesus does is address the paralytic's spiritual ailments, not his physical ones. He doesn't do anything about the physical ailments until he is challenged by the scribes, and His specific purpose for the physical healing is to demonstrate that He has the authority to forgive sins.

We spend so much of our lives addressing our physical situations. Homes. Jobs. Security. Physical Health. But here Jesus is showing us that our spiritual situation -- our standing before God -- is more important than any of those things. In fact, He tells the paralytic to have courage. Your sins are forgiven. There is nothing to worry about.

Be not afraid.

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