February 22, 2009
While Jesus was at home, they came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking, so he said, ‘Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” – he said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” (Mark 3-12)
The curing of the paralytic proves Jesus’ authority to forgive sins as well as to heal the sick. Remember, Jesus’ authority or power comes from God working through him. Jesus is able to do all things if we approach him with faith and in trust. As wonderful as physical healing is, having sin forgiven is even better. Jesus can make us whole in body and in spirit! In just a couple days we will begin Lent. Many of us think of Lent as a time to do something special. While giving up candy or something else we enjoy is okay, maybe the best thing we could do is change our lives in a way that will make us better persons, and a bit more like Christ, at the end of Lent.
What might you do this Lent that will make you a better person in 40 days? Prayer draws us closer to God, helps us think about others before ourselves and allows open communication (both talking and listening) with God. Fasting is something else we can do to honor God during Lent. When we give up food for a day, we can then take that time and energy and put it toward God, keeping God first in our minds and hearts. Almsgiving (helping the poor) allows us to put into practice what Jesus teaches us when he helps meet the physical needs of others (as well as the spiritual and emotional needs). The possibilities are endless.
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