Pastor's Article for Park Rapids Enterprise, November 17, 2018
Now some of you may have read last weeks article and been left thinking, “O great! Another liberal. He only wants God to be about loving everyone. Jesus going around loving and not judging. That’s not my Jesus.” Well, go to Mark 2. Read the story of the paralyzed man.
A man, paralyzed all his life, is brought by friends to a house where Jesus is teaching. It is so full they can’t get in and so they go up to the roof, rip off the shingles and tar paper. They take out the Skil saws and cut some of the plywood away and lower their friend down to Jesus.
Now, this man has come to Jesus for one reason. He is paralyzed. What should he expect? Jesus has become world renown for his ability to heal illnesses and drive out demons. That’s why the house is so full. The man’s friends want him to be able to walk. He wants to walk.
However, what does the text say? “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” (Mark 2:5) These men trusted that Christ could do what they needed, but Jesus sees something else. Looking at the man he tells him, “I forgive you.” This pisses everyone off. “No one can do this except God. Who does this man think he is?”
Exactly!!! Jesus Christ is at his best when encountering sinners and messing up the whole way we look at the world. We see a paralyzed man, he sees a sinner in need of forgiveness. In fact, to prove the necessity of those three words, “I forgive you”, Christ looks to the people who are angry at such “blasphemy” and says to them – “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Jesus then looks at the man and says, “Pick up your mat and get out of here.” In this one miracle Christ shows us the very reason for his work, for his coming to you. To look you in the face and say to you, “I forgive you all your sin.” Then he says, “Go home.” Being forgiven, we go home in that forgiveness. Dwelling in it. Meditating on those words all the way home. Having been interrupted by our own attempts to get what we think we need, Christ gives to you the very thing he came to do, to love and forgive sinners. Because, when we realize our own sinfulness and receive this mercy from the mouth of Christ, it cannot but change our life both here and hereafter. Living among sinners, knowing our own frailty and mortality, we are then transformed in our own forgiveness of others.