Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Your Sins Are Forgiven

Once, when Jesus was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean." Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do choose. Be made clean." Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. "Go," he said, "and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them." But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, "Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - he said to the one who was paralyzed - "I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home." Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today." Luke 5:12-26 

As someone who has lived through not being able to walk, and has spent time confined to bed, I can testify to the desire to rise, be healed and be among normal people.  We do not want to have to be helped with every small function of life. We ache for independence when we are so completely dependent. We covet other people's abilities to do normal things and care for themselves. We can even get to the point of resenting those who help us because of our great need and their seemingly carefree living.

Jesus encounters a man who was dropped through the ceiling by his friends. So much love! They carried him across a crowded city and found their way to Jesus, letting not even a roof get in their way. And Jesus takes pity on the man and heals him, both of his physical ailments and his broken spirit. The religious leaders were stunned by all of this and wanted to stir up trouble. Instead Jesus sent the man home, completely healed, completely free. The man was forever grateful to God. So we are invited to remember all the broken places God has made whole, and to be grateful this day for our independence and our capacity to love.

Today I ask God to give me the courage to be grateful for all that I have received. May we be grateful today for the care and kindness of friends, family and strangers when we have been in need. And may we show our gratitude by sharing what we have been given with others.

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