Getting to the Root Issue? Part 2 (Mark 2:1-12)

Sunday, January 15th, 2012
Sermon Series: Mark

The Gospel of MarkDownload Sermon Outline

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Getting to the Root Issues Part 2

Getting to the root issues of life with the forgiving

and healing of the paralytic–Mark 2:1-12

 

When you are sick, your symptoms are the surface issue, but the flu virus is the root cause of the problem.  When you’re broke, spending money is the external reason, but a greedy heart and lack of discipline are the root cause.  When you’re sore in the morning, sleeping weird could be a reason, but growing old is often the root issue.  When you are a paralytic, coming to Christ to be healed, your illness is the surface issue, but being made right with God and forgiven of your sins is your desperate root need.

Jesus loves you enough to not allow you to constantly focus on cosmetic or temporal issues.  He desires for you to get to the core of the matter, and address the root issues–the concerns of the heart.  So much of what motivates you is the idols of the heart.  Just like Ezekiel warned Israel in Ezekiel 14:4, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart.’”  We need to be careful who or what we worship in our hearts–wishing for a “spiritual” husband, wanting a “cute girlfriend”, desiring a huge raise, to drive that car, vacation at that exotic spot, wanting a pleasure, or a security or success with grades or a team.

Though not obvious, some believers even worship their spouses, their children, a boyfriend or a house–even their retirement plan.  A few even worship movies, a sport, a “look”, a “person”, or a “group”.  Christians often build their identity on something other than Jesus Himself.  Whether it’s to succeed in your chosen field, to win a certain relationship, or achieve a certain status, or even (as we’ll see today) to get up and walk, like the paralytic–all of you battle with saying, “If I just had that, if I possibly could get my deepest wish, then I will finally be happy!  You’re looking to something to give you purpose and save you from mediocrity.  You ultimately make that wish into your savior.  You’d never use that term, but that is what is happening.

If you never quite get it, you’ll be angry, unhappy and empty.  But if you do get it, ultimately you will feel even more empty, unhappier and angrier–because no idol can satisfy.

The only rest for your inner man can be found in Christ alone.  Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  Jesus says, if you have me, you will have true rest and life–I will actually fulfill you, and if you fail me, I will always forgive you.  And, I am the only Savior that can do that.

But it is hard to figure that out.  Many of you first started claiming Christ and going to church because you had problems, and you were asking God to give you a little boost over the hump so that you could get back to saving yourselves, satisfying yourselves, and pursuing the heart idol of your deepest wish–those loves that compete with Christ.  But be warned, Christian–the Lord is not content with leaving you in your surface-y search for temporal satisfaction.  He will eventually dig deeper, and surgically cut out those idols.

C.S. Lewis illustrated this powerfully in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  There’s a boy named Eustace, and everybody hates him and he hates everybody.  He’s selfish, he’s mean, and nobody can get along with him.  But he finds himself magically on a boat, The Dawn Treader, taking a great voyage.  At one point, the boat pulls onto an island, and Eustace wanders off and finds a cave.  This cave is filled with diamonds, rubies and gold, and he thinks, “I’m rich.”

And immediately, because he is who he is, he thinks that now he’ll be able to pay everyone back for all the mean and cruel things they have done to him.  Eustace then falls asleep on the pile of treasure, which he doesn’t know is the treasure hoard of a dragon.  And because he falls asleep with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, when he wakes up, he has become a dragon.  He turns into a big, terrible, ugly dragon.  His heart now is shown externally.

Now he’s too big to fit on the Dawn Treader, so as they contemplate leaving him behind on the island, he falls into despair.  But as a dragon, Eustace becomes kinder, more useful, and is actually able to assist others on the voyage–a first for Eustace.  Then one day, the Christ figure in these stories, Aslan, the great lion, shows up and leads Eustace, the dragon, to a clear pool of water and tells him to undress and jump in.

Eustace realizes that to undress means to take off his dragon skin.  So he begins to gnaw and claw off the scales, finally peeling off his entire skin.  But to his dismay, he finds that underneath, he’s got another dragon skin–he is still a dragon.  He tries a second and third time, but the same thing still happens.  In the end, the Great Lion says, “You’re going to have to let me go deeper.”  So here’s how Eustace tells the story.  “I was afraid of his claws, but I was pretty desperate now.  The very first tear He made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart.  And when He began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt.  Well, He peeled the beastly stuff right off, just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt, and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker and darker and more knobby looking than the others had been.  Then He caught hold of me and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment–then I saw, I’d turned into a boy again.”

Is that your testimony?  It was for the paralytic–he wanted healing, but Jesus went much, much deeper.  Open your Bible to Mark chapter 2 and follow in your outline as we meet the paralytic, who desires to be cured of his suffering, but discovers that it is His sin that desperately needs cleansing.

As Mark 2 opens, it begins a section of this gospel where Jesus is being opposed.  Between Mark 2 and 3:7 there are five clashes between Jesus and the religious leaders concerning His methods, His men, and His ministry.  And here as Jesus deals with the paralytic, He also tells us He’s mainly concerned with deeper issues—the forgiveness of sins.  This outline is created to help you understand what’s going on in the text, and last week we saw where this occurred.

#1  The Place

Verses 1 to 2, “When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them.”

#2  The Paralytic

Verses 3 to 4, “And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. 4 Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying.”  Then Jesus grants . . .

#3  The Pardon

Verse 5, “And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”  Seeking to be healed externally, the paralytic is granted forgiveness internally.  More than the ability to walk or move or speak, like each one of us, the paralytic desperately needs the deeper issue–to be forgiven for his sins.  And last time, as Jesus emphasizes, “Son, your sins are forgiven”, He makes an intimate declaration of fact, where forgiveness is accomplished for you, in an enduring, repairing and comprehensive manner, completely delivering you from your sin now and forever.

But the Lord’s forgiveness is a shock to the religious leaders present at this event, which is where we pick up the story in verse 6.  Read verses 6 to 12.  “But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”? 10 ‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’, He said to the paralytic, 11 ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’ 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”

In the midst of the great love these four men have for their paralyzed friend–while they’re showing great faith in Christ to heal their friend, Jesus is relieving the man on the pallet from His greatest burden and is granting him his greatest need, the forgiveness of sins.  In the midst of all that, the Lord is opposed.

#4  The Pessimism

Verses 6 and 7, “But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 ‘Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?’”

Those of you who are discerning, beware of your dark side.  Or those who are “the glass is always half empty” type, watch out.  Nothing destroys faith and love faster than pessimism.  Nothing wrecks joy and hope more than being negative.  It is okay to be negative about your sin and this fallen planet, but it is not okay to be negative or pessimistic about God’s providential work in this world and through His people.  Christians are commanded to be encouragers in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

But here in this crowded house, where a paralytic has just been literally dropped in Jesus’s lap, these critics are not believers.  Look at verse 6, the religious leaders are in the house with front row seats.  As religious leaders, they should’ve been directing the traffic to Jesus and His free healing clinic.  When the roof opened, they should’ve been the ones to reach up and receive the poor cripple.  Yet they are the real paralytics–instead of love, there was indifference. Instead of faith, there was only criticism and debate.

Jesus was already attracting great crowds in his ministry.  Jesus is very popular.  Because of that, he had attracted the notice of the official leaders of the Jews.  The Sanhedrin was religious Israel’s Supreme Court.  One of its official functions was to be the guardian of orthodoxy.  For instance, it was the Sanhedrin’s duty to deal with any man who was a false prophet.  It seems the Sanhedrin had sent out a kind of scouting party to check up on Jesus.

In the parallel account, Luke 5:17 tells us, “One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem.”  So the religious leaders came all the way from Judea and Jerusalem to check up on Jesus.

Luke tells us there were Pharisees present.  Pharisee means separate one, referring to their zeal for the Mosaic law.  They mostly came from the middle class, and were very popular with the people of Israel.  They began during the inter-testament period, and by the time of Jesus, there were 6,000 of them.  And though they started off with right motives, desiring obedience to the Scripture, over time they drifted from a faith of the heart, to a religion of rules, rituals and behavior modification, which resulted in hypocrisy and external pseudo-spirituality.

Mark tells us in verse 6 there were also scribes present in the room–these are the PhD’s of religion.  They’re the professional scholars who specialized in the interpretation and application of the law.  Scribes are the ones who were called by the name “rabbi”, meaning great one.  Although the room was so crowded that most people were standing in a press outside, these religious dignitaries had somehow annexed an honorable place in front of the crowd.  Verse 6 tells us they were sitting in their place of honor, wearing their suspicious hats, ready to find fault in Jesus and pounce on anything He said wrong.  So filled with pride, jealousy and envy, they’ve come to find fault with popular Christ.

All of us did this to our parents–we tried to catch them in their contradictions—“Aha, you said this and Mom said that!”  Students, by the way, how would you like it if your friends treated you in the same manner, always waiting to catch you in error?  No one wants to live with a, I think the correct term is, jerk.  And all of us have experienced someone just waiting, just listening to us in order to find fault in what we say or do.

They were there to find fault with Christ.  But Christ, with great patience, continues to teach, heal and to forgive sin.  And Jesus does this in spite of what is going on in the hearts of the most powerful and spiritually influential men of that day.  Verse 6 says, “They were reasoning in their hearts.”  Like all insincere people, they’re not open about their true opinion.  They do not share their thinking, which was much more than an emotional reaction.  The Greek word “reasoning” is a logical, mental debate.  They are not gasping in shock–they are plotting their attack against Jesus.

Read verse 7, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?”  Why does this man speak that way?  Do you see the phrase “this man”?  That’s a contemptuous response.  Not “Rabbi Jesus”, but “this man”.  Why is He speaking like this?  They’re expressing their disdain for the words of Christ.  They say Jesus is continually, factually insulting God—blaspheming.

They are pondering/reasoning.  Major premise: only God can forgive sins.  Minor premise:  this man claims to forgive sins.  Conclusion:  He blasphemes, being a mere man–wrong conclusion.  Blasphemy was the most heinous crime in Jewish culture, and the worst sin in religious life.  To blaspheme was a direct affront to the person of God.  It was so serious the Jews defined three levels of blasphemy:

1  a person blasphemed God by speaking evil of His law, like they accused Stephen of at his stoning

2  one blasphemed by slandering, speaking evil of, or cursing God

3  was the most serious of all–one blasphemed when they assumed the rights and prerogatives of God, usurping the role of God and acting as if one were actually God

Leviticus 24:16 tells us the penalty for this kind of blasphemy was death by stoning.  This is the blasphemy the religious leaders accused Jesus of here.  As verse 7 ends with “who can forgive sins but God alone?”  And get this–in that statement, they were absolutely correct.  No one can forgive sins in the fullest sense so that the sinner is cleansed, righteous, and never again guilty or condemned but God alone.  Only God as lawgiver and judge can forgive sin in that eternal way, since all sin is ultimately against God Himself.

But their accusation of blasphemy wrongly assumed that Jesus was merely a man, and not God incarnate.  By claiming authority to forgive sins, Jesus was either God or a blasphemer–there’s no middle ground.  Jesus could not have been merely a good man, a true prophet or a teacher of ethics–if He were a blasphemer of God, He is either a liar, a lunatic or Lord.

But these hard-hearted religionists could not conceive that Jesus, who was born as man was actually God.  Here was God, and they missed it.

In fact, the religious leaders saw no need for forgiveness, because they considered themselves already to be righteous.  They resented the Lord offering forgiveness, not only because they did not believe He was God, but also because they considered it unjust for a person to be forgiven simply by asking for it instead of by earning it, as they thought they had done.

Hear me, beloved–the two great barriers to salvation have always been the refusal to recognize the need for it, and the belief that it can be earned or deserved.  The leaders’ hearts were so hardened against Christ, that every miraculous evidence of His divinity and messiah-ship drove them to deeper unbelief, rather than to repentance.  Even His most loving actions and kindest words resulted in greater fury against Him.  So the atmosphere inside this house filled with people, proud leaders and the paralytic is now hostle, and Jesus knows it.

#5  The Perception

Read verse 8, “Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?’”  Jesus Christ knows what you are thinking right now.  Jesus Christ is omniscient, all-knowing–He knows all there is to know about you.  He sees everything in your heart and mind.  He knows why you do what you do.  He knows the motive behind your words.  There are no secrets with Christ.  There’s nothing He doesn’t know.

John 2:25 tells us, Jesus “did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”  First Samuel 16:7 reminds us, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  First Chronicles 28:9, “The Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.”  Although the religious leaders could master the letter of the law, and were even able to hold their tongues here, they couldn’t hold their hearts in check, because the heart reader was present.

Verse 8 says, “Jesus, aware in His spirit,” meaning Jesus instantly, internally detected their hostile reaction.  He didn’t need visible or audible evidence, but inwardly and intuitively He perceived their hostile reasonings.  Mark makes it clear they were biased–which is what caused their negative reaction.  They’re looking for a crack to exploit.  If you want to destroy a leader, the approach the demons highly recommend is to keep throwing accusations at the leader until some of them stick–and if he is human, some will stick.  But it won’t work with Christ since He is human and divine—perfect.

So Jesus counters their unspoken heart question with verse 8, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?”  They probably thought Jesus would merely heal this paralytic laid in his lap.  But He pronounces forgiveness, which rocks them and feeds their bias against this super popular rabbi.  I love the fact that we only know what the leaders are thinking because Jesus omnisciently revealed to us what their thoughts were.  Matthew’s account adds that the leaders were thinking evil in their hearts.  An evil heart is a heart that plots against God.

They are there wanting to condemn and find fault with God.  These leaders were not holy men, but harsh, hateful men.  Yet with more patience than you or I possess, the Lord poses a question meant to lead them to the right conclusion in verse 9.  With this question, Jesus will prove He is God in their midst.  “’Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”?’”  There are two major punches going on here in verse 9.

First  Jesus says, if I can deal with the consequences and symptoms of sin, then I can forgive sins as well

The religious leaders had seen irrefutable evidence of Jesus’s power to heal disease.  Sin and disease are inseparable, just as sin and demons, sin and death, sin and disaster, and sin and the devil.  The one who brings God’s rule, the Messiah, will have to be able to deal with sin, or else He could not deal with the consequences of sin found in disease, death, demons and disaster.  And the one who can deal with the consequences of sin can certainly deal with sin itself.

The religious leaders said nothing in answer to the question of verse 9–why?  Because, the answer was obvious.  Both healing and forgiveness of sins are impossible for men, but both are equally possible for God.  The point is, no one but God can heal disease with a word, and no one but God could forgive sins with a word–but Jesus can do both with divine ease.  And since Jesus can do both, He is God.  The second major punch in verse 9 is:

Second  Jesus declares that saying something is easier than doing it

So let me do the healing so you’ll know I can grant forgiveness.  You probably have said something like, “Put up or shut up.  Show me the Money.  Put your money where your mouth is. Fish or cut bait.”  Notice in verse 9 the phrase, “to say” is listed twice, and as an infinitive it carries some emphasis.  “’Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”?’”

In verse 9, Jesus is reminding the leaders, the men on the roof, and the paralytic on the floor, that saying something is always easier than doing it.  It is much easier to make a claim that cannot be verified, than to make one that can be.  The religious leaders had no visible way to verify the paralytic’s forgiveness, but they were about to receive abundant evidence of his healing, which would force the conclusion that Jesus actually could and did forgive sins.  Jesus did it with . . .

#6  The Proclamation

The credibility of Jesus’s entire ministry and message rests on the outcome of these three commands, found in verses 10 to 11–“’But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—He said to the paralytic, 11 ‘I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’”  Jesus commands, get up, pick up your pallet, and go home!

But verse 10 begins with, “so that”–a purpose statement.  Here is my purpose, Jesus says–I will prove to you who I am, and that I can and do forgive sins, so that you may know.  I am doing this, not only to prove I have the ability, but that I also have the moral right to do so as God.  In order to prove I have the authority to forgive sin that you cannot see, I will do what only God can do, and command a man to be healed with just a word, so you can see.

Jesus literally declares that He presently, continually, and factually has the authority to forgive sins.  That means Jesus holds the freedom of choice, the capability and moral right to send away sins–to erase our debt, and to make us right.  Authority indicates both the might and right to pull this off.  And Christ can forgive sins with merely a word on this earth.

I love this–think with me.  Only God can forgive sins–God is in heaven, but God is also on earth in the person of Jesus Christ.  So Jesus Christ, verse 10, can forgive sins on earth.  How does this happen?  Because Jesus Christ is the Son of Man, verse 10, “so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Books are written as to what the phrase Son of Man means.  It was the Lord’s favorite designation of Himself, used by Him more than eighty times in the gospels.  Like the parables, the title was a term that veiled the truth to the unbelieving, but is revealed to the believing (Messiah meant conqueror).  Son of Man is the term describing Christ’s humiliation.  It describes God being born as a baby, growing in obscurity, ministering as a man, then offering Himself in the place of sinful mankind, paying the price as a man for our sins upon the cross.

He’s the Son of Mankind, the ultimate man, the perfect man who would die for man.  The Son of Man–God’s representative on earth.  And it is this God Man, Jesus, who can forgive sin on earth because it will be Christ who will accomplish salvation from sin by dying on the cross for the sins of His children.  And by the authority of God who was born man, in verses 11, Jesus speaks to the paralytic, “I say to you.”  He doesn’t wave His arms, shout, hit his forehead, scream, pray, dance, name or claim, or burn a candle–Jesus merely speaks.

In front of everyone–to the crowded house full of people and those pressing in from outside, to the proud religious celebs come to entrap Jesus, with his four watching pals still looking down from the rooftop, Jesus gives the paralytic three simple commands.  In verse 11, “’I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.’”

Just like when God said in Genesis 1:3, “’Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  God said to the unmoving paralytic laying in front of him simply, “Rise up, take up, and be off”– and it was so.  Can you see it?  “Arise” is testing the man’s faith.  His faith would be shown by his compliance to the command, believing that he could do as told.  “Pick up your pallet” demanded prompt obedience, which follows faith.  “And go home,” ordering him to be on his way implies now.  As a resident of Capernaum, he’d be a standing witness there to Jesus’s authority to forgive sins.

I can imagine sweet tears rolling down the cheeks of the paralytic, and maybe even his four friends on the roof, right after hearing Jesus’s tender words of forgiveness—“My Son, your sins are forgiven.”  Christian, do you remember the moment you realized you had received the complete and total forgiveness for all your sins?  I do—this was awesome.  But how do we know this paralytic is really forgiven?

#7  The Proof

And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone.”  Instantaneously, the paralyzed man was completely healed.  There were no lingering effects of his disability, no rehabilitation, no need for atrophied muscles to be exercised, no delay in regaining the coordination needed to pick up a pallet on the floor, and no need to relearn how to walk again.  Instantly the paralyzed man was fully healed.  I can see his friends on the roof shouting praise–and why not?

Verse 12–he 1) got up, and immediately 2) picked up the pallet, and 3) went out.  These three instantaneous acts on the part of the man provide undeniable evidence of His complete healing at the word of Christ–proving Christ’s supernatural power to not only heal, but forgive sins.

And he went out in the sight of everyone.  The crowd, which couldn’t be penetrated earlier, now parted to make room for him to squeeze through.  So here’s this man whom they all knew.  All Capernaum knew who this man was.  They all knew He was genuinely paralyzed.  And now as he leaves, they see him walking.  They brush up against him as he presses through the crowd to leave the house.  Some probably touched him, rejoiced with him, possibly patted him on the back or hugged him.  And they all saw him—“in the sight of everyone.”  A public attestation of Jesus’s authority, which makes the unbelief of the religious leaders all the more inexcusable.  Talk about hardness of heart.  Thankfully that was not everyone’s reaction–the crowd knew this wasn’t a fake healing, which caused . . .

#8  The Praise

Verse 12b, “so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”  The result was threefold–first was amazement.  The Greek word means “ecstasy, astonishment, a good type of confusion.”  We’d say “blown away, rocked”–in a mouth-gaping reaction.  And all of them were amazed–everyone was in ecstasy.

The gospel of Luke adds, “They were seized with astonishment.”  They were literally out of their minds.  Matthew says they were “filled with awe”–phobeo, where we get the word fear.  Picture this crowd in lost, fearful wonder at what they’ve just witnessed–they can’t contain themselves.  As a result, as a group secondly, they were glorifying God.  The idea of glorify is to think, believe, then give credit, or repute.  It is to give all credit to God–to honor Him for who He is and what He has done.  They were praising God, honoring God, and thanking God for what they have seen.

Little did many of them realize at this time, that the God who they were glorifying was actually standing in their presence.  But thirdly, they verbally declared at the end of verse 12, “We have never seen anything like this.”  They were super impressed by what they saw with their eyes–the physical, visible, external restoration.  But sadly, did you notice no comment was made by anyone, in any gospel, about the forgiveness of sins which the healing actually proved.

The faith of the paralytic and his friends on the roof must have caused a much deeper reaction than what we see from the crowd, and certainly much different than the smug Pharisees.  But more important to today is, how will you respond?  Will you respond on the surface, or will your response go much deeper?

Friends, do you understand what Mark, in 2:1 to 12, just did here?  He proves Jesus is God.  The religious leaders said only God can forgive sin, implying they thought Jesus believed He was God, or that Jesus believed He could somehow do only what God could do.  If anyone said or thought that of me or you, we’d immediately say, “I am not God.”  We would deny it.  But Jesus did not deny it–and in that very action, Jesus was owning and proving His deity.

Jesus is all-powerful–God has the might and right to merely speak a word to alter nature, heal a disease, cast out a demon, calm a storm, stop a disaster, prevent a pain, or forgive sin.  He is your Creator.  No matter what your limitation, Christ can cure it, or grow you through endurance, if it is best for you.

Jesus is all-knowing–He knew their thoughts, and He knows your thoughts, motives and feelings.  He knows your mental sins and things done in private needing repentance.  He also knows your secret devotion, fasting, service and your heart which loves Him.

Jesus is all-wise–He knew by saying, “My son, your sins are forgiven,” He would be forcing a showdown with the religious leaders, proving that He was in fact God in the flesh.  And He knows by allowing your trial, your relationship tension, your financial crisis, your physical pain that it will grow you as His child, or force you to finally submit to His leadership, or sadly today, if you reject Him like the leaders did, make your condemnation even more just.

Jesus is to be trusted–He is worthy of our trust, as He loved seeing the faith of the four men who brought their paralyzed friend.

Jesus is patient. I don’t know how He didn’t immediately call down judgment and toast those arrogant religious leaders.  Yet I am so grateful He was patient with me, an arrogant youth of 18, just as much in rebellion to Him as those corrupt leaders.

Jesus is forgiving.  Only Jesus Christ has the right and authority to remove your sins permanently, so that you can actually stand in God’s presence now and forever in heaven.  You must turn from sin in repentance and to Christ in dependent faith.

Jesus is eternal.  The end result of salvation will not be judgment, but eternal glorification when all true believers will be freed from all the consequences and effects of sin–forever in glorified bodies.  Freedom from sin, disease and death awaits all those in Christ.  How will you respond?

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
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