Scipture Reading for Thursday March, 13th
Reading: Mark 2:1-12
You are Forgiven
Think back in your lives to those moments in which something was brand new to you, not brand new in a scary way, but in an exciting way. Maybe the first time you held hands or kissed someone you liked, or perhaps the experience when you rode your bike without assistance and felt a rushing sense of freedom. These moments of newness hit us at various points in our lives and in many ways we try and capture those moments whether through video, pictures, or by doing those same things again because of their impact in defining who we are.
What do you think it would feel like to walk for the first time? I am betting there were a lot of emotions running through the paralyzed man in that first moment he rose to his feet; Joy, excitement, and gratitude to name a few. This man had been living his whole life in a horizontal position, utterly dependent upon others for his well-being, and in an instant that all changed. Just like that...
However that wasn't the end of the story! "But wait, there's more!"
Your sins are forgiven!
The most amazing thing about this story isn't just that the man is healed and goes on his way; it was that Jesus pronounced his forgiveness over the man. Not only was he made well, he was made whole.
This story from the gospel really messes with those of us who have any religious lawyering in our blood and we are left a little slack-jawed here. The paralytic didn't even ask for Jesus to forgive his sins. Certainly he was hoping Jesus might heal him; and yet the initial pronouncement of Jesus had nothing to do with his legs or back. Even further, it was because of the faith of his friends.
However if we can set aside our legalistic posturing we can begin to tease out some application for us today.
Certainly on the Cross Jesus effected the forgiveness of sins for all (whether we accept that gift is something else!) but none-the-less it was not up to the paralytic to ask for God's forgiveness as much as it was necessary that he should accept God's forgiveness that was waiting for him. Regarding the faith of the friends; not many come to Jesus on their own, the key her is that the paralytic man was brought to meet Jesus.
What this means for us today, and (Easter is a great opportunity to do this) is that we are the friends, meant to bring those around us who are paralyzed in their own sinfulness before a God who is eager to forgive. Within that action of service to others there is the opportunity that those we bring to God might experience that same sense of newness of life that the paralytic felt as he rose to his feet, forgiven, life made whole.
Questions for Reflection or Journaling
- Reflect on a moment of newness in your life? What was it like?
- God has forgiven you, how is that made real in your life today?
- What opportunities do you have over the next few weeks to bring your friends before Jesus this coming Easter?
Father, thank you for the newness of life that you bring to us, and the restoration of our souls to you. Guide us today towards those whom you would have us bring to you during this season of Lent and to celebrate your resurrection. Awaken us to your presence daily.