The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
"Which is easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Rise and walk?'"

Scripture: Luke 5:17-26

17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.  18 And behold, men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they sought to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus.  20 And when he saw their faith he said, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."  21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began began to question, saying, "Who is this that speaks blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins but God only?"  22 When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you question in your hearts?  23 Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise and walk?'  24 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he said to the man who was paralyzed-- "I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home."  25 And immediately he rose before them, and took up that on which he lay, and went home, glorifying God.  26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today."

Meditation: What cripples the mind and heart and stiffles 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.  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. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of body, mind, 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, soul, and mind. 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 righteousness."

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 (c)1999 Don Schwager