There is an amazing story of faith and faithlessness that is told in Luke 5:17- 26 when Jesus heals a paralytic man whose friends lowered him down through the roof, because they couldn’t get inside to see him. Over the years I have heard many sermons, and read commentaries on this this text that range from a variety of angles about sin, forgiveness and healing. But,I have always had a nagging feeling that something was amiss and I could never put my finger on it. Over the last couple of days I have been thinking more about this story and had an “Aha!” moment as to what was nagging me.
Luk 5:20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
Luk 5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Luk 5:22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?
Luk 5:23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
Much of the Jewish social culture was framed within the contextual fabric of sin and the forgiveness of sin. Under the inspiration of God, Moses begins teaching the Israelites how to be forgiven of sin. Leviticus begins with 3 chapters on sacrificial praise and worshipping God. Them he moves onto the issue of sin and forgiveness where the next 3 chapters are devoted to this very area of forgiveness of sin. God raised up a priesthood whose major function was to deal with the issue of sin and declare God’s forgiveness for the nation and the individual for their sins.
Within the Old Testament framework of law and Godly justice, the religious leaders had forgotten that God himself had provided a methodology for declaring God’s forgiveness and therefore could it be that the lame man had been denied this very offer from those whom God had appointed to do that very thing.
Friends I urge you today within the context of sin – do not forget the offer of the Lord’s mercy and withhold God’s forgiveness; both towards yourself and each other.