2 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
In the course ‘Christianity Explained’ participants read this account in the first lesson to teach two truths about Jesus. First, Jesus has authority over severe sickness or disability. Second, Jesus has authority to forgive sins. Participation in the kingdom of God is permitted for all who are forgiven of their sin. You might say that is the passport into God’s country. Jesus declares himself fit to forgive and permit entrance into the Kingdom of God. Some of the Jews who are watching all this want to know what Jesus’ credentials are, how can he be authorised to do something that only God can do?
As proof of his credentials, Jesus brings a gift from his Kingdom, healing.
This scripture makes me so thankful to be forgiven. Here Jesus simply utters the words ‘your sins are forgiven’. A year or two from this incident Jesus would be paying the hefty price for not just this man’s sins, but the sins of humanity. This scripture also tells me that my forgiveness as permitted me into the Kingdom, a reality to be lived out now. I can and do bring gifts from this Kingdom to the world around me, they are testimony to the world that the Kingdom of God is real.
O Lord, teach me to be a Kingdom gift giver. Teach me to go beyond my personal resources and give gifts from the eternal and blessed storehouses of God!
Written by Andrew Mellor