2And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
3And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
4But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’”?
— Matthew 9:2–5
We have already seen that the root problem is sin and the prognosis is perish. And unless God had stepped in, nothing would alter that course. That's reality! That's who we are. That's who are parents and grandparents and ancestors have been. And this brief moment called life is a chance for you to choose.
Here’s the answer to the root problem of sin: the provision of forgiveness. Incredibly, unimaginably, the provision is forgiveness. You and I can be forgiven of our sin. Take a few minutes and read Exodus 34:6; Psalm 86:5; and Micah 7:18 for a glimpse of God’s forgiving heart.
In Matthew 9 we find the story of Jesus and the paralytic man. Take a look above at how it opens. Notice first that Jesus was not going to heal the guy's body without healing his soul.
You're like, "Well, what exactly would be the benefit of getting this guy upon his feet for the next 10 minutes so he could fall into hell?" So Jesus put first things first. He said, "Let me deal with your eternal problem and then we'll work on your next-10-minutes problem." And that's why he said to him, "Your sins are forgiven." That's why he put the spiritual matters first, not the healing of his body. That’s His priority with us, too.
And then notice Jesus’ strong assertion: "I have the authority to forgive sins.” Jesus Christ has the authority to forgive sins. No one else in all the universe can make that claim. God has granted to His Son the authority to forgive sins. You can't get that anywhere else. Do not get caught on a “B” plan. Only Jesus has the authority to forgive sins.
In fact, the same story is told in Mark they said, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mark 2:7). To which Jesus could have easily replied, "Correct, correct. No one can but God. Now you're getting it!”
Jesus is God! He is God who became man. He's the One who has the authority to forgive sins—yours and mine. And He wants to!
— James MacDonald
Lord, I come with my confession for this day, knowing that You already know, but I need to off-load my burden to You. Thank You for Your mercies in exchanging my sins, large and small for Your grand forgiveness that sets me free! In Jesus, name, Amen.