Monday, April 25, 2011

Which Is Easier: To Forgive or to Heal?

Some of the teachers of the law didn’t like what was happening,
And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." [Matthew 9:3].
There were about 6,000 Pharisees, called "separated ones," throughout Israel. They were the teachers in the synagogues, religious examples, self-appointed guardians of the law and its proper observance. They considered their own interpretations and regulations, handed down by tradition, to be virtually as authoritative as Scripture.

Their criticism and alarm was understandable. Here was a mere man having the impudence to usurp God’s position on the mercy seat, dispensing forgiveness for sin!

It was total blasphemy.

Only God can forgive sin.

The scribes had it right.

If Jesus was not God then He was either terribly evil, a blasphemer of the worst kind, in league with the prince of demons, or He was truly God.

Jesus knew their thoughts,
"Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—he then said to the paralytic—"Rise, pick up your bed and go home." [Matthew 9:4-7]
By asking them which was easier, to heal or forgive, Jesus made the point that both were equally impossible for a mere man, and equally easy to God. When Jesus told the paralytic his sins were forgiven, the paralytic,
(1) according to God's promises in the Bible, was cleansed of all unrighteousnes by grace.
(2) He was also empowered by Jesus, now justified and cleansed, with the desire and the ability to apply Jesus' word to his life.

Jesus told him to get up, pick up his bed and go home.
* He listened to Jesus,
* he believed
* and he obeyed.

The friends of the paralytic believed Jesus could heal their friend, and Jesus responded to their faith by forgiving their friend's sin, who received God’s forgiveness, cleansing and enabling power in his life.

Jesus responded to the evil in the scribes' hearts by demonstrating His authority as the Son of Man. It's what they really needed, to experience new life and the fulfillment of God's promises in their lives, but they rejected Jesus' teaching.
Jesus has both the compassion and the authority to forgive your sin
The crowd was overcome
When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. [Matthew 9:8]
The word translated as “fear” means "reverential awe;" as one author put it, "stark terror mingled with inexpressible joy," breathless awe and intense joy, so that people were overcome with a sense of wonder and adoration.

What is your response to Jesus’ forgiveness, His commands to you, and His powerful enabling of you to obey?

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