Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.
Let me ask you a question? What do you believe mankind’s greatest problem is today? Poverty? Social injustice? Corruption? Intolerance? Bigotry? Cancer?
Yes, these are problems, but mankind’s biggest problem today is what it has always been: sin. And Jesus gets right to the root of it in today’s passage by saying to the paralyzed man: Your sins are forgiven. There wouldn’t be sickness or suffering on this earth if it weren’t for sinful man. The story of Adam and Eve is not mythology; it is a story of rebellion, and the consequences that ensued as a result.
Suffering is amplified these days because of an increase of sin. God exists, whether one believes in his existence or not, and, as Paul says, “he is not mocked; we reap whatever we sow” (Galatians 6:7). And not only do the wicked suffer as a result, the innocent do as well because “if one part suffers, every part suffers” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
So what is the solution? If sin is the cause of sickness and suffering, then the obvious antidote is the cessation of sins and a life of holiness. But in order for us to cease sinning, we have to be broken enough about the sin in our lives, and the sin in the world, to ask God for forgiveness. This is available only through Christ, who paid the debt due for sinfulness. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
And a life of holiness cannot be led without the aid of the Holy Spirit. So a prayer that should constantly be on our lips is, “Holy Spirit, help me. Holy Spirit guide me. Holy Spirit strengthen me.” And the grace of God will help us live the life of peace and harmony that God wants us to live - with him, and with one another.
So, enough of being paralyzed. Let us stand up and walk free.
May the Spirit be with you.