Mark 2:1-12Recently I read a Christian book and they were discussing the power guilt had on our lives, and as I read it, I vividly remembered that sin. Maybe you have a sin like this too. It was so ugly and so huge that it never gets forgotten. It does not get talked about because it is too horrific and embarrassing. But worst of all, it is the type of sin that keeps haunting me, as my life journey continues and I meet repeatedly with the same exact temptation again...and I wonder, would I succumb to this sin again?
It keeps coming up like this, and I tell myself, because I know better...Jesus has forgiven me, He has paid the penalty, it is over, and so I take a big breath and life goes on.
Yet still there is this nagging thing in me, did I repent enough? Did I confess to the right people at the right time in the right way? Do I avoid this sin enough? Is there something wrong about me, deep inside me that cannot be righted somehow?
Enter the paralyzed man, from the roof, no less. His friends carry him to see Jesus, unable to get in the door for the crowd, they climb up on the roof, carrying their friend, break open the roof and lower him to Jesus. Jesus takes one look at him and the faith of his friends and is amazed and said "Son, your sins are forgiven."
I can almost picture the paralyzed man, who expected Jesus to heal him, begin to weep as he hears this from Jesus. Because Jesus looked into his heart and saw what the paralyzed man needed most.
What we all need most. Forgiveness.
We can't see forgiveness. It is not big or small, blue or red, smooth or rough. Forgiveness is invisible, like the wind, we cannot see it, only its affects. But that is what He came to do, that was His purpose: our forgiveness. As the Amplified Bible puts it: the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed, and you are made upright and in right standing with God.
Sometimes it is hard to believe Jesus can, or even is willing to forgive us, repeatedly, of our ugly, horrific, devastating sins. Like the scribes did that day, we say to ourselves, Who can forgive sins, remove guilt, remit the penalty, and bestow righteousness instead, except God alone? We have difficulty believing too. So we feel guilty still even when Jesus removed it, we try to pay back with good works or devotions when Jesus remitted the penalty and paid our debt in full, we try to act righteous, when Jesus has bestowed righteousness on us as a free gift.
But Jesus is patient and willing to teach us and show us.
"But that you may know positively and beyond a doubt that the Son of Man has right and authority and power on earth to forgive sins"--[Jesus] said to the paralyzed man, "I say to you, arise, pick up and carry your sleeping mat, and be going on home." And he arose at once and picked up the sleeping mat and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and recognized and praised and thanked God.
Jesus did miracles as signs. Signs that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that He has the right and authority and power on earth to forgive sins. He will heal our bodies finally in Heaven. But most importantly, most urgently, He needs us to know beyond a doubt that He has forgiven us our sins. All our sins.
Even that most ugly, horrific, embarrassing sin and He loves us dearly. Anyway.
Beloved Jesus, help me to believe You and and know that guilt is not mine--You have given me Your righteousness!