I was reading in Matthew 9 this morning where Jesus said that forgiving the sins of a paralytic man was easier than healing the man’s paralysis. He said this before he went to the cross, so as far as everyone there knew, forgiveness from sin required an animal sacrifice. Yet here was this guy, granting forgiveness and there’s no blood being shed.
I can understand why the people were shocked, why they questioned Jesus about it. This went against everything they had been taught up to now. Jesus, to prove he had the power, healed the sick man. But he said that act was harder than the forgiving of the sick man’s sin.
Yesterday at church, the pastor spoke about God’s ability and desire to forgive our sins. He reminded us that there is no such thing as a sin too great for God’s forgiveness if we just go to him and ask. Being washed clean by God is not all that complicated. Ask. Receive.
That forgiveness was bought at a very high price – the painful death of Jesus on the cross. He could forgive the paralytic because, for one he is God, and he knew he was willing and able to pay the price required of that man’s sin.
Today, forgiving us is a matter already done. My sins, your sins, are forgiven. Period. Jesus doesn’t have to go to the cross again and again each time we disobey him, each time someone goes to him with a repentant heart. He’s been there, done that.
God doesn’t require any of us to do something, pray a number of prayers, beat ourselves, or carry a wooden cross to make up for some deficit his own death couldn’t cover. Forgiveness is already ours (John 3:16, I John 1:9) Receiving it requires confession of sin, a repentant heart, and a request.
Us: Jesus, will you forgive me?
Piece of cake.
Jesus, I don’t want to minimize what it cost you to purchase my forgiveness. I read about what you went through at the hands of your murderers and I shutter to think you did that for me. I don’t want to minimize your holiness, your fierce hatred of sin, your demand that I be holy before you, a holy God. But I want to thank you for your grace, for the simple act of asking you to forgive me, knowing you already have and are just waiting to shower me with your love and forgiveness. Thank you for making it so easy to come to you. Forgive me when I try to make it so difficult.