So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Matthew 9:6)
Relate: Jesus knew what they were thinking. He had just said to the paralyzed man, “your sins are forgiven.” As was accurate and proper, the religious leaders who were there believed that only God can forgive sins. Not some priest. No prophet or rabbi can do it. No politician or judge can forgive your sins. Nobody. Only God. Yet Jesus had just said, “your sins are forgiven.” If He was not God, they were very justified in accusing Him of blasphemy.
But because Jesus was God, He knew exactly what they were thinking. Knowing their objections, He didn’t try to rationalize what He had just said. He didn’t back down from their thought that only God can forgive sin. Instead, He backed up His authority as God. Anybody can spout out blasphemies. Not everybody, strike that, nobody can blaspheme one second and then the next, heal somebody by the same authority he just blasphemed. If Jesus were not God, what He did next would be literally impossible. Stand up, pick up your mat, go home.” And the man, healed and forgiven by God, did just that.
React: I get a kick out of people who say things like, “If I stepped a foot into your church the roof would cave in.” One advantage of having our church at Regal, I can easily respond, “Well, have you ever been to the movies? Did the roof cave in there? Then you’re good.” But more seriously, what they are saying is that they aren’t good enough to go to church. Of course you’re not. Neither am I. Nobody is. If holiness were the requirement for Christian fellowship, none of us would be admitted. The thing is, Christ, the head of the church, still has the authority to forgive sins. He still has the power to bestow grace. And if you think your sin is bigger than His grace, well… that’s just foolishness. You’re not bigger than God. Not even close.
God, I am so grateful that You still have the power to forgive sins. I am so thankful that You still are in the business of healing. I know. I have been healed. I have been forgiven. Help me to never come to the place that I would be foolish enough to believe that I need to clean myself up before coming before You. Help me to never feel that I need to heal myself to stand before You. It is Your grace that lifts me up.