Today's Reading: Matthew 9:1-8
And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Aris e and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house. (Matthew 9:3-7)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The clincher for the scribes isn't only that Jesus misuses God's Name, it's that He misuses God's Name by forgiving someone their sins who didn't first ask to be forgiven, didn't show proper contrition, and offered no repayment for the absolution. Jesus just up and forgives the man, freely, no strings attached. But, that's not the worst of it. He then proves He has the divine authority to forgive sins by doing something only the Son of God can do: give a paralytic the full use of his legs.
This is the “scandal of the cross” the apostle Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthian church — that the grace and forgiveness of God is free, costs sinners nothing, because Jesus paid in full the wrath and punishment we deserved . As the prophet Isaiah testifies: “ He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
There is no greater love imaginable, no more abundant grace, no other word God can utter to prove His love for you. There is nothing lovable about you as sinners, but God loves you in this manner, that He died for you, so that at Jesus' resurrection your sin could be set aside and forgiven, that you may be made God’s own children, washed white in the blood of the Lamb, called from your bed in body and soul to stand before God as His glad children and call Him, “ Abba, Father .”
My loving Father, here You take me To be hence-forth Your child and heir. My faithful Savior, here You make me The fruit of all Your sorrows share. O Holy Spirit, comfort me When threat'ning clouds around I see. (LSB 590:2)
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