Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus Forgives and Heals

The Lord Jesus was probably teaching in Peter’s home at the beginning of this chapter,
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. [Matthew 9:2a]
What is your response to great need in the people in your life? How involved are you willing to get, to help them?

Typically, a Palestinian house had a flat roof accessible by means of an outside staircase. The roof was often made of a thick layer of clay supported by mats of branches across wooden beams. As Jesus was teaching, the crowd would have noticed dust and bits of clay begin to fall from the ceiling, and then, as the ceiling tiles were removed a beam of sunlight would have surrounded Jesus. As all watched in dismay, down came the paralyzed man, right in front of Jesus.

As the Lord looked up, He read their hearts
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." [Matthew 9:2b]
This was not the way Jesus usually healed people. Usually He physically healed them first. But Jesus must have seen how feelings of guilt and concern over sin were this man’s first and most prominent problem.

What Jesus said to him uncovered this man's deepest need. It wasn’t to walk. What he really needed was to know and experience God’s forgiveness. Jesus gave him release from his spiritual paralysis, deliverance from guilt and sin, to enter into a life of communion with God and to be assured of God's eternal favor.

What might be paralyzing you right now?
* How often do you bring your own sins to Christ, seeking His forgiveness?
* Do you allow the burden of your sin to weigh you down, to paralyze your spiritual life, so you're just not able to get up and walk that part of your faith?
* Or do you come to Jesus as often as possible, desiring the joy of God's forgiveness, knowing what it is for God to be pleased with you?

Sometimes a person believes God simply can’t forgive them. You believe in your heart that what you’ve done is just too awful, or you’ve done it too many times, and you’re discouraged. But the truth is that when you confess your sin, God says in the Bible that He does forgive you, and cleanses you from all unrighteousness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1 John 1:9]
Sometimes a person believes that if they feel something is true, it must be true.

-->If I feel unloved, I must be unloved.
-->If I feel unforgiven, I must be unforgiven.
-->If I feel like my situation is hopeless, then it must really be hopeless.

Maybe that’s how the paralytic felt, he was so depressed and so discouraged, that he was numb with hopelessness.

But the truth is our feelings do not dictate reality. The truth is God is good whether you and I feel like He is or not. He loves you even when you don’t feel loved. As soon as you confess your sin, the Bible says, He forgives you, even when you don’t feel forgiven. The Bible says that you and I are to think only about what is true, and then the peace of God will be with us,
...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[Philippians 4:8-9]
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