And behold, they were bringing to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed; and Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2

In Matthew 9:1-8, Matthew recorded Jesus saying to a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. The entire discussion that followed did not focus on the paralyzed man. It focused on Jesus’ statement of forgiveness of sins. “How dare a mere mortal say this! Only God can forgive! This declaration is nothing short of blasphemy!”

Jesus, knowing the scribes’ thoughts, asked a question. “Which is the most difficult--to grant forgiveness or walking?” To show that he had the authority to forgive sins, Jesus enabled this paralyzed man to walk.

The point was emphatic and immediately visible: If Jesus could make the paralyzed walk, he had the power to forgive. The multitudes, awe-filled, glorified God for enabling Jesus to do what he did. They “got the point.” They recognized God as the source of Jesus’ power. God, not Jesus, was actually at work. This was no mortal act!

Consider two “think about” questions.

Question one: Why are humans so impressed with the visible? Forgiveness did not “Wow!” the witnesses, but a paralyzed man walking “Wowed!” the witnesses. Lesson: No matter what we say God does for us through Jesus Christ (forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, etc.), nothing “Wows!” the witnesses as will the way Jesus Christ changes us as people. How you treat your family, how you treat others, your ethics in your work, expressing your servant mentality, etc., will “Wow!” the witnesses.

Question two: Why do humans often fail to see the greater gifts? Forgiveness of sins trumps walking any day, under any circumstance, any time. If we had a choice between walking and forgiveness, which would we choose? May I speak for most of us? For many the answer would be, “We choose both!” We tend to be greedy, do we not? Wonder which we would choose in judgment?

Cherish all blessings! Never sell forgiveness! Selling forgiveness is never a bargain!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 23 May 2010

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