17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.[a] 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking 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.”
I went away on retreat this last weekend. It was great. I won't lie, I didn't go because I wanted a word from God, I went because I'm lonely and I wanted a break from my life. I'm stressed out, overwhelmed, unsure of the future, and processing a rough couple of years. I'm wrestling with my theology, my faith, and even God. No, this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with this passage, however, one of the speakers was Piper, and he discussed this verse when talking about our "rights" (and lack thereof). Rabbit trail. I'm all about rabbit trails.
But God was gracious and spoke to me anyways. Despite my hard heart and bitter spirit.
Anyways. Back to business.
I love all the stories of Jesus healing. He heals bodies, which was totally awesome, but he heals spirits too. He heals our spirits from the slow and painful death that sin inflicts upon us.
In this particular passage, this man is so, so broken. Jesus heals his body, but more so, heals his spirit. Can there be any sweeter words then, "your sins are forgiven"?
So, in a roundabout way, this does relate to my weekend. I am saved by grace, but I still sin. Every day. Some days, every breath is a sin.
Thankfully, God is a God of forgiveness. He hates sin, but he loves his people and will forgive their sins. MacArthur says this:
When God identifies Himself specifically in Exodus chapter 34 and verses 6 and 7, this is how the Lord identifies Himself. "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and truth, who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin." Three synonyms were used by God when He said that to sum up the completeness of God's forgiveness. He is a compassionate God. He is a gracious God. He is slow to anger. He abounds in loving kindness, which is an Old Testament word for grace. And He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. That's His desire, that's His nature. That is why from the very outset of the Fall, God set in motion a redemptive plan by which He could grant forgiveness, putting all the guilt of all who repent on Jesus Christ who died as the sacrifice, the substitute for sinners. Nehemiah chapter 9 verse 17 says, "You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness." And that echoes the words of Exodus 34.
To show how extensive that forgiveness is, Psalm 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far as He removed our transgressions from us." How far is the east is from the west? That's infinite.
Wow. For reals. I have been at the lowest point ever in my faith for the last year/18 months. But, God is compassionate (Isaiah 49:13), slow to anger, forgiving, abounding in loving kindness.
He is patient. He is healing. He is loving. He is all that is good and right and holy.