Judges 9-10 Luke 5:17-39
“Seeing their faith, Jesus said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, ‘Who is this man who is speaking as if he were God? Only God can forgive sins.’” (Luke 5:20-21 NCV)
You’ve probably read this story many times before, but, if you haven’t, Jesus was teaching and people were thronging to hear Him and see His healings. Four guys were running a little late to the service because they were carrying a friend who needed healing. They looked at the crowds and knew that there was no way to break through the crowds so that Jesus could heal their friend. They didn’t give up, though. They climbed to the top of the roof, dug a hole through the hardened mud, and slowly lowered their friend in front of Jesus. Jesus, noting the faith of the friends, told the man that his sins were forgiven. I can’t help but wonder what the friends thought. “We dragged Jacob here 1000 paces, climbed to the top of the house, and dug a hole through the roof for that? We wanted him to be healed.” Everyone could read the Pharisees thoughts. Forgiveness of sins could only come from God – and that after a sacrifice. Then, Jesus healed the guy to prove that even more than healing people, He could forgive sins. He made an unspoken claim of divinity by forgiving and healing this man.
As I think about this story, especially on Good Friday, I can’t help but wonder if even at this early stage of His ministry, the shadow of the cross played a part in all that Jesus did. He knew that His mission was to proclaim the Kingdom of God. That mission, as we know now, included dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. In the Old Testament, the priest pronounced forgiveness for sins after the sacrifice. In this story, Jesus pronounced forgiveness knowing the sacrifice He’d make. On this day we meditate about the sacrifice of Jesus. We realize the great price He paid for our sins. We call this, the day that God the Son was crucified, “Good Friday,” not because He had to be crucified, but because He was willing to die for our sins. This isn’t a time to focus on ourselves, or our sins, it’s a time to think about the amazing love God has for His people. Jesus didn’t demand a recounting of the sins of the man who was paralyzed. He forgave him. Of all his sins. It’s important to confess our sins when we do wrong. Today, though, focus on God’s amazing love that compelled Him to pay the sacrifice for our sins on the cross. As we live in the shadow of the cross, may that compel us to live more like Jesus.
Lord, I don’t deserve Your goodness. I don’t deserve the benefits of Your sacrifice. Thank You for Your grace that loved me all the way to the cross. Thank You for giving me grace instead of justice.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.