The Rev. Dr. Michael Nirva, Senior Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church
Jesus Christ Heals Everything!
The Word of the Lord:
Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart son: your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe, and they praised God.
The verses demonstrate the openness of Jesus’ love for people in need. Jesus was busy with teaching those who had crowded into the house to hear His divine words—but Jesus was not offended when men literally tore the roof off the house so that their friend could be lowered to the floor. These men wanted to be certain that their friend would see the Healer.
Jesus’ love for the paralyzed man demonstrated Jesus’ order of priorities. The invalid was paralyzed to such an extent that he could not walk, and everyone in the crowd expected Jesus to heal the man. But Jesus told the man, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven.” Jesus, you see, knew the man’s real need, and it was deeper than his paralysis. The healing followed, but it had to wait for that which was more important.
This lesson places itself squarely on the unavoidable truth: there is something higher and more important than even bodily health. It is the assurance that God accepts us because He has pardoned our sins. In providing the sick man this deeper, inner healing, Jesus was true to His primary mission. Jesus had come “to seek and save the lost.”
Jesus desires all people to know that their deepest need is God’s forgiveness. The Bible is clear: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” How good, then, that we can go to Jesus with our sins and know that it is His highest joy to forgive us. And in His name, and by His command, we can bring to other repentant sinners the assurance: “Your sins are forgiven.”
A few people attending that day were very angry with Jesus. They were furious that Jesus had claimed the power to forgive sins. They said that Jesus was blaspheming God, for they said, “Who can forgive sins but God alone.” That’s when Jesus showed the crowd that He is truly God who holds omnipotent power and true divine authority.
Jesus said, “Which is easier: to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘Get up and walk’?” It takes God’s power to do either of these. To the surprise of everyone, when Jesus spoke His words of healing to the paralytic, that’s exactly what the healed man did.
Because Jesus is the great healer of our sins, we rejoice that Jesus has given us the inner healing we need the most— and we can also turn to Jesus for divine healing when we are sick. And, like the paralytic’s friends, we can by our prayers and our witnessing, also bring our families and friends to Jesus for the healing that only He can provide.
Christians minister to the needs of people by giving them the message of the Gospel and by living its meaning. Christians are Christ’s missionaries to the world. Just as Jesus, by healing the paralytic’s legs, proved to him and to others in the crowd that He had the right to give the good news of forgiveness, so we demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ by the deeds of love we perform in His name. Jesus declared: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Christians perform acts of love, not to earn anything, but because of the love that was shown to them in Christ Jesus. Many people who never read the Bible read the actions of our lives. That is a living epistle to them of the love of the Gospel. Christians are called to show the love of Jesus. May it be so in every believer’s heart. Amen.