Matins Devotion: October 6, 2023
“Which is easier to say? ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or ‘rise and walk?’” This is a simple yet complicated question that Jesus poses to the scribes. On the one hand, the easier thing to say is obviously “your sins are forgiven” because it’s an invisible thing. Forgiveness isn’t made of matter. It has no appearance or taste or touch, just the sound of words that can’t be proven by looking under a microscope. Healing, however, can be perceived and verified. You can’t just say it. You have to show it, so in that sense it’s much easier to say “your sins are forgiven” than “rise, and walk.”
But, of course, when Jesus commands the paralyzed man to rise and walk, he’s showing the scribes why they are wrong to think he’s blaspheming when he told the man his sins were forgiven. He’s showing them that it’s a much harder thing to be worthy to forgive the sins of anyone. It’s much harder to hold in your hands the authority of Almighty God to pour out divine pardon upon sinful men. Only one man has been worthy to do that–the God/Man Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God sent by His Father to forgive sins. So by healing the man, Jesus proves that He carries that authority in His hands, the same hands that will be pierced for all mankind in order to heal us, restore us, and save us with the bloody forgiveness of God.
And upon Calvary, Jesus did exactly that. At the cross, Jesus spoke the hardest words of all. He cried out “Father, forgive them.” He cried out, “it is finished.” And with those words, He forgave you, restored you, ripped you out of the hands of the devil and placed you into the hands of His Father. You belong to Him now, forever and always. The hard part is done. The rest is very easy.
So remember that when you are overwhelmed with sorrow and suffering, when you’re crushed by paralysis, by cancer, by pain, by guilt, by regret, by injustice, by abuse, by any and every affliction. The hour is coming when the Lord of mercy will tell you to pick up your bed. But He won’t tell you to go home. He’ll tell you to come home, to join Him in His eternal kingdom. The hour is coming when Jesus will remove every malevolent cell from your flesh, where He will crush every malevolent force of this already-conquered world, and where He will dry every tear that you weep. You may see and feel that healing in this life. You may not. But the day is coming because Jesus is Lord of both the hard questions and the easy. So don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. The day is coming when the Lord who forgive your sins will crush your afflictions into dust forever.