2 Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.”
3 Then some of the experts in the law said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”
4 When Jesus saw their reaction he said, “Why do you respond with evil in your hearts?
5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?
6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – then he said to the paralytic – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.”
I looked up forgiven in the biblewebapp.com and it is so crazy. It of course says what you think forgiven means, but there are more implications that if you switch the word out can be a little scandalous.
- your sins have gone away
- Your sins don’t count any more
- your sins are disregarded
- your sins are no longer discussed
- your sins are not considered
- your sins are abandoned
COME ON NOW!
It’s no wonder people that measured each other by their actions hated Him so bad. The thing is, nobody could look at that guy and see that his sins were forgiven. To show that Jesus had the power to do that, He followed up the forgiveness with another impossible act: restoring a paralytic.
Jesus is like: you think that’s impossible? Well you think this is impossible too, so watch this!
So what would happen if we began telling people that their sins don’t count any more? I guess right now the Christian message is typically “your sins *can* be forgiven, if you do this and this…” and sometimes that was definitely Jesus’ message.
He had a lot of conditional statements, a simple search for the phrases “If you” or “if anyone” or “if any man.”
But what would happen if we didn’t count people’s sins against them any more? What would happen if we began to teach that the stuff you’ve done, that you know was bad, actually doesn’t have any bearing on heaven or hell any more?
I think that was where Jesus was leaning, because what does He do next in Matthew? He goes out and has dinner with a bunch of people that were habitual offenders of the Law (both legal and religious law!)
10 As Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Religious people are so concerned with keeping their religion that they don’t even want to be around non-religious people. It might be a fear of who will influence whom, or a fear of what other people will think of them, but it just doesn’t fit for the religious to be around the unreligious.
Which then lands us right onto one of the most comforting sayings of Jesus you’ll find in the book.
Go and learn what this saying means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
God was served in the cold hard temple of Jerusalem, but He was loved and showed love in the living rooms and dining rooms of Bethany, Galilee, Samaria, and more. (this last line is a paraphrase from Jesus Manifesto)