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Thought for the Day by Simon James-Morse (Minister Goldstone Church)
“When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 5:20)
A favourite story for many Sunday Schools features a paralytic man desperate for healing. We see his selfless friends digging through a dirt roof in faith that the rumoured miracle-worker would heal their friend’s body. (I hope they fixed the roof afterwards!)
The man seems to have been lowered between Jesus and the Pharisees – the Jewish religious elite, who always seemed to present – questioning, doubting, accusing. The Pharisees were so consumed in finding fault in Jesus, that, right before their eyes, they missed the fulfilment of the Bible scrolls that they studied so closely.
When Jesus healed the man’s body, He fulfilled the hope (through faith) that he and his friends had had when they set out that day. But the healing went beyond the physical. When Jesus healed the man’s soul, He also fulfilled the yearnings of the nation of Israel. The Promised Messiah had come!
For generations, the Jews had retold the story of the Exodus; of how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. The hope of Israel was that the coming Messiah would herald a ‘New Exodus’ – a new era where God’s people would be free from all bondage and oppression for ever.
God used the actions of the man’s friends to explain why Jesus came to live and die among us. Jesus came to fulfil the age-old hope of Israel. And by forgiving the man’s sins, Jesus gave the man a New Exodus – freedom from the oppression and eventual consequences of sin.
“He immediately stood up before them, picked up his stretcher, and went home glorifying and praising God.” (Luke 5:25 AMP)
Today, our society can often seem like a crowded room, where everyone is challenging the validity of Jesus – questioning, doubting, accusing. But as Christians, as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, through faith in His life, death and resurrection, we know that our sins are forgiven; we have the assurance of eternal life.
So, in response, let us completely discard the ‘stretcher’ from our previous lives, and decide instead to visibly stand tall in our community “glorifying and praising God” for what Jesus has done in our lives.
Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You for the healing of both body and soul. Having been healed, we ask You to fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit, so that we may boldly proclaim You as our Healer and to glorify Your name. May we reach those in need of healing with Your love and mercy. In Jesus name, Amen.
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