new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Missing the Point?

(By Stephen Steele, working with New Life Fellowship)
(May’s Verse)

Have you ever expectantly watched a TV debate on an important issue, only to see the contributors spectacularly miss the point? In your frustration you feel like shouting at the TV – “a blind man on a galloping horse could see it!”

This month’s verse seems, on first glance, to be an example of Jesus completely missing the point. This popular young preacher has been teaching in a house that’s so packed that no-one else can get anywhere near him, when suddenly those in the room start to notice bits of plaster falling from the ceiling. As they look up, they begin to see a small patch of light which gets bigger and bigger. Eventually the hole is big enough for the four guys on the flat roof to lower down their paralysed friend on a stretcher—so determined are they to get him to Jesus.

The crowd wait with baited breath to see a miracle. But our verse tells us:

‘Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”’ (Mark 2:5)

What?! Here’s a man who can’t even move, yet Jesus doesn’t see his blindingly obvious physical disability as the first priority! Only after declaring him forgiven (to the outrage of the religious leaders), does Jesus heal the man’s paralysis.

If you could ask God to do one thing for you, what would it be? So often we see our biggest needs as physical health or relational restoration—perhaps a long-term illness, or broken relationship. But to Jesus, the biggest need of each of us is spiritual; we need to be cured of the most pervasive disease of all—sin.

The religious leaders’ outrage at Jesus’ blasphemous (as they thought) statement was partly because the words are easy to say—any charlatan could come out with them. But true forgiveness is always costly. When people wrong us, it costs us not to make them pay for what they’ve done. Forgiveness always costs.

For Jesus to say these five words cost him the ultimate price. He had to go to the cross, not just to suffer physically at the hands of the Romans, as many before and after him did, but to quench the wrath of God due us for our sin. The one who had created the universe by speaking a word, could not simply say ‘Let there be forgiveness’. A price had to be paid.

If you could ask God to do one thing for you, what would it be? Would it be the thing that cost him the most? Or are you content just to keep on asking for the things that cost him nothing?

Jesus came to this earth so that the words of our verse—“Son (or Daughter), your sins are forgiven”—could be true of you. Are they?