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Which is easier to prove: that some one’s sins have been forgiven or that an ex-cripple can now walk?
You can’t say “forgiveness of sins” since it’s invisible. So you must vote for the healed cripple.
Or do you?
That’s the question Jesus answers when we find him in Capernaum, circa Mark 2:1-12.
Who Is the Cripple?
Seated on a mat inside a crowded house Jesus paused during his sermon to watch a dead man on a bier get lowered to the floor through a hole in the ceiling.
And this is what people came to see–a miracle. And indeed, that’s what they got. But in a way none imagined.
The man was not dead. Just lame from the neck down. Four men who peered through the roof possibly said as much.
Jesus told the man, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees flinched, murmured. Jesus asked why they flinched and murmured.
He asked “Why do you think I blaspheme? Would it be easier for me to heal the man? Would that satisfy you?”
Why They Flinched and Murmured
The forgiveness of sins belongs to the realm of God alone. That was why the Pharisees balked at Jesus’ statement.
Jesus was claiming he could work as God worked.
Knowing that the act of forgiveness was an intangible one, Jesus shifted gears. He would demonstrate that he had the power to forgive sins because he possessed other God-like powers. Namely the gift of life.
He ordered the legs and arms of the cripple to warm with life. He spoke, and the cripple stood. By the word of God. The Son of God. The creator. The Word who was from the beginning.
What You Do and Don’t See
The events unfold and all you see is a rabbi tell a lifetime cripple to pick up his pallet and walk home. All you see is a cripple climb to his feet, grab the pallet and walk out of the crowded house. All you see is a mob of people hollering, clapping and singing.
What you don’t see is the storehouse of sins emptied in an instant. Nor the dark clouds of war with God evaporate. Nor peace descend on the soul of a man once crippled by guilt and fear and worry.
All you see is an ex-cripple climb out of a house of people and walk–for the first time in his life–down a dusty street.
Where You Feel This
For you, like the ex-cripple, you simply believe what Jesus told you: That through his death your sins are forgiven. That through his death your entrance into heaven is cleared. That through his death you are now at peace with God.
You believe you are healed from the wages of sin.
And you feel this in your spirit. And in that moment you commit to his will for your life. Forever.
**Part of The Messiah: Eleven Meditations from the Book of Mark series.** You can start reading a PDF version of The Messiah: Eleven Meditations from the Book of Mark right now.