Daily Dose, March 11 — Lent

“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 paralized 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 strong assurance that you are forgiven is a marvelous experience. The prison doors of guilt are open to the one who finds forgiveness. Heart hungers are satisfied and enormous power for good is unleashed when guilty souls are set free. Jesus wants you and everybody to receive this essential gift.

He told the paralyzed man, “Child, your sins are forgiven,” and he had the authority to do it. “Who do you think you are?” asked the experts in religion. Only God can forgive, was their valid theological insight. Jesus was in full agreement with them. And only God can heal the legs that refuse to walk, said the Lord. So, get up and walk home, which is what the used-to-be-paralyzed man did. The proof was right there in the pudding, and it remains there, etched in the pages of history.

The journey of Lent leads to the cross and Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them.” Christ has the authority and power of love and offers mercy and forgiveness to you. Please, I beg of you, receive the gift and begin your new life of doxology and song. -- Dr. Don Martin