GOSPEL READING: Matthew 9:1-8
1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Meditation: What cripples the mind and heart and stifles the healing power of love? Sin and unforgiveness for certain! Sin cripples us more than any physical ailment can. Sin is the work of the kingdom of darkness and it holds us in eternal bondage. There is only one solution and that is the healing, cleansing power of Jesus’ forgiveness.
Power of forgiveness
Jesus’ treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man or woman from their burden of guilt. Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give. Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God’s redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well.
Healing body, mind, and soul
The Lord Jesus is ever ready to bring us healing of mind, body, and soul. His grace brings us freedom from the power of sin and from bondage to harmful desires and addictions. Do you allow anything to keep you from Jesus’ healing power?
Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, mind, and soul. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life – my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offences and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your truth and goodness.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Healing of soul and body, by Hilary of Poitiers (315-367 AD)
“Now in the narrative of the paralytic a number of people are brought forward for healing. Jesus’ words of healing are worthy of reflection. The paralytic is not told, ‘Be healed.’ He is not told, ‘Rise and walk.’ But he is told, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven you.’ The paralytic is a descendant of the original man, Adam. In one person, Christ, all the sins of Adam are forgiven. In this case the person to be healed is brought forward by ministering angels. In this case, too, he is called a son, because he is God’s first work. The sins of his soul are forgiven him, and pardon of the first transgression is granted. We do not believe the paralytic committed any sin [that resulted in his illness], especially since the Lord said elsewhere that blindness from birth had not been contracted from someone’s sin or that of his parents” [John 9:1-3]. (excerpt from commentary ON MATTHEW 8.5)
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers can be found here.
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