Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Which is easier, for Jesus to announce forgiveness of sins, or for Jesus to heal a man who is paralyzed? That’s the question in Matthew 9:1-8. Some of us will become very spiritual and say, “of course, it’s all equally easy for Jesus.” On one level that’s true. What about from the perspective of the scribes who were questioning Jesus?
It’s easier for Jesus to announce forgiveness of sins. After all, you can do it and I can do it. Words are cheap. We can announce or confess anything we want. It won’t necessarily make it true, but we can certainly confess it. For instance, right now, I can confess that I am a multi-millionaire. And I am, if you count millions of some things. Millions of water molecules in the pond? Yes. Millions of blades of grass? Yes. Millions of pennies? On a good day, yes. Millions of dollars? No.
It’s easy to say something. It’s harder to prove up. I can say that I am a fine French chef, but if you came to eat at my house, you would see that it is not so. Jesus can say the man’s sins are forgiven. What can he do to prove it? He can show that he has conquered death by rising from the dead, but he isn’t going to do it that very day. There is no visible sign that sins are forgiven. So Jesus gives a different visible sign. He heals the paralysis.
Can the scribes heal the paralyzed man? Apparently either they can’t or they are mean people who don’t want to. But Jesus, he can heal the paralyzed man. He is able to do what would seem impossible.
I’m not going to make any claims to an ability to heal the sick. But Jesus will. He can do anything he says he can. He heals the paralyzed man. Apparently we can take him at his word that the man’s sins are forgiven as well.
Jesus has the power to forgive our sins. We need to let that sink in. It isn’t just words. It is reality. He is the one who can reconcile us to God and present us, holy, before the heavenly throne. He is Lord indeed.
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