word for the week – being whole
Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ He said to the paralysed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Luke 5:23,24
Jesus sat teaching in a house packed out with very serious men – teachers of the law from far and wide as well as his disciples. Then down through the roof above their heads a paralysed man lying helpless on a mat was lowered down to lie at Jesus’ feet. A desperate man with determined friends, definitely not bothered with the serious teaching and discussion going on. Jesus simply said to him, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’. A tense moment had become even tenser – the shock of blasphemy, a horrified intake of breath, silence, and all of them thinking, ‘Who can forgive sins but God alone?’. And what was in the minds of the helpless man and his friends? Is
that all they had come for, just forgiveness!
A friend of mine spent some time on a ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, because someone else had fallen asleep at the wheel of a car. A number of the other young men on the ward had paralysed themselves – and sometimes hurt or killed others – because they had been drunk driving cars or motorbikes, or leaping into swimming pools. Perhaps this paralysed man in
front of Jesus faced the same kind of double anguish of remorse, regret and guilt about his own condition and that of others. What kind of healing did he need most?
Finding even the beginnings of forgiveness, peace of mind and conscience, can be far more crucial for our ‘health’, our wholeness and well-being, than having our various physical or social needs met. Jesus knew this damaged man’s heart and his desperate need, as well as the hearts of those watching. So he demonstrated his authority for all to see and told him to get up and go
home.Sometimes we have to ask ourselves what kind of healing we, and others, need. And sometimes we need to seek out those who have hurt us to offer forgiveness so that they too can begin to find healing from the Lord who knows all and forgives all.