Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Some Time With the Red Letters: Luke 5:17-26

So, I spent some time with the red letters tonight, specifically in Luke 5:
17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."

21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."

I think it inconceivable that the friends of the paralytic man were looking to Jesus to forgive their sins; they believed that if they only got their friend in front of Jesus, he would be healed. And yet, "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.'"

Everytime I spend any significant time with the Scriptures I catch something I never noticed before. I suspect it's because my filters are constantly changing and adapting. This time around, going over a passage I must have read dozens of times, I noticed for the first time that Jesus forgave the sins of--who? just the paralytic, or his friends?--and whose faith? the paralytic, the paralytic's friends, or all of them?--these men even though they probably didn't have faith that he would do that. In fact, the thought probably never even occured to them. They appeared to be concerned only for their friend.

Is faith that Jesus will forgive sins a prerequisite for their forgiveness? Or is it enough to call on Christ for aid and comfort, believing that he can provide it? Does Jesus really have stipulations on the faith that we have in him? Can we, in calling to Jesus for salvation from the suffering in our lives, receive relief from our sins as well? And did you notice that Jesus' physical healing of the paralytic was "evidence that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins"?

Bigger questions than what this non-theologian can answer, but I'm enjoying the mystery.

1 Comments:

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zeke. I think that you might find my site (jofj.org) interesting. I tell the story of the Journey of Jesus from a chronological and geographical perspective. DAB

 

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