April 11, 2013 - Thursday of the Second Week of Easter

Today' s Reading: Luke 5:17-26

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 25:1-22; Luke 5:17-39

"That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"He said to the man who was paralyzed"I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home." (Luke 5:24, ESV ).

Alleluia! Christ is risen! In the name of Jesus. The paralyzed man wants to walk. But Jesus doesn't heal him. Not at first. Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven you." As far as the paralyzed man knows, that's all Jesus is going to do — just say, "Your sins are forgiven." Do you think the paralyzed man is disappointed?

Don't be disappointed when Jesus "only" says, "Your sins are forgiven you." Instead, rejoice! Jesus didn' t come just to cure symptoms; He came to cure the disease that causes the symptoms. If I have a pain in my shoulder because my heart is failing, you can give me Tylenol. It might relieve my shoulder. But I'm still on the verge of dying from a heart attack. If Jesus heals all the diseases we have, He might be relieving the symptoms, but we' re still on the verge of dying for all eternity from our sin. We need something more than temporary healing.

So Jesus says to the paralytic and to us, "Your sins are forgiven you," and the Pharisees say, "That's blasphemy!" They don't think Jesus is God. So they don't think Jesus can remove the paralytic's sins — or your sins. After all, nobody can see the paralyzed man's sins leave him — or your sins leave you — when Jesus forgives.

So Jesus does something they can see, something we can see, something to assure us that when He says our sins are forgiven, those sins really are gone. Jesus says to the paralyzed man, "Rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And the man rises, picks up his bed, and goes home. Everyone can see the man's paralysis has disappeared. Everyone can see that Jesus is God. So He has authority to say, "You're forgiven."

Still, in order to say those words, Jesus has to make sure the sin that causes paralysis will be paid for. Paying for sin involves a hammer, spikes, holes in Jesus' wrists and feet, and a whole lot of blood. Not to mention being forsaken by His Father. But that' s what Jesus provides.

"Who can forgive sins but God alone?" The answer is, "No one." But when a paralyzed man rises, takes up his bed and walks home, everyone can see that Jesus is God. Now Jesus, who is God, speaks through your pastor. That way you can hear Him say to you what He said to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven you." Christ is risen!

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.