Take heart… Matthew 9:1-8 What Jesus said next could have been anything. Yet, something like, “It’s not as bad as it seems” somehow doesn’t feel as effective. Besides that, what if in fact it really is as bad as it seems? What Jesus does say is “son, your sins are forgiven.” In this Jewish Palestinian culture to have ones sins forgiven is major. It meant that you were approved by God. So it stands to reason that the Jewish authorities believed only God could give such an approval. Jesus however makes a point. It really is easier to say to someone that “God has forgiven” them because that elicits hope. Hope encourages that God, who makes all things possible, is near. To say “Stand up and walk” gives them a challenge. It’s like challenging someone to “just do it.” Yet, who takes on a challenge without first having some hope of achieving a goal? Today, we tend to encourage one another by saying “just do it.” However, sometimes we need to be reminded that we are already approved by God. What we really need to hear proclaimed from one another is “Take heart, child; God is near, all things are possible.
Deep seeded belief in our sin has to be countered with a deeper seeded faith in God’s forgiveness. In other words if we believe that we are suffering because of something we have done, we will always suffer unless we truly believe that God has forgiven us. The enemy would rather have us hold on to the sin knowing that as long as we believe it is the reason for holding us back it will have the power to keep us from walking forward in Christ. But know this, God’s forgiveness existed long before our confession of sin or our confession of faith and will continue to exist long after. With faith in God’s forgiveness, we are able to stand and walk for the glory of God. A far greater sin is to not believe in God’s mercy and God’s grace because the alternative is to be forever disabled. Therefore, stand up and walk. Go forth in the name of Christ knowing that God’s forgiveness is whole, everlasting, and complete.
Luke 5:12-26 …there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus he begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. …Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’