Daily Dose, Feb. 23

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’ (Mark 2:1-12) The healing of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof is a miracle that points to a greater miracle.  The man lowered into the presence of Jesus wanted to walk. He wanted to get beyond the frustration of being dependent on others. He wanted to stand up on his own two feet and walk home. So, it must have been confusing when Jesus declared that his sins were forgiven. He did not come seeking forgiveness though he likely needed forgiveness same as you and me. He came paralyzed and he wanted the gift of horsepower. I’m confident that Jesus had taught about forgiveness at this house meeting. He apparently declared that he had the power to forgive which offended the scribes. Forgiveness comes only from God.  It was immediately clear that Jesus spoke a powerful and effective word when the paralyzed man stood up and hustled home to play soccer with his kids. You are forgiven same as the paralyzed man who left carrying his mat. Christ forgives you and that means God forgives you. You are set free to begin a new life. You can put guilt and shame in your rear-view mirror. You can walk away from your littered past into a future powered by God’s mercy and love. There is no miracle greater than the miracle of knowing that you are forgiven which is a gift from our Lord Jesus. --Dr. Don