There are situations in life and circumstances in life that I wish God would rescue me from and heal me from. There are physical, emotional, and relational needs that I have that I wish God would simply restore to perfection. I’m not alone in this. We all know that life is hard, that brokenness exists, that pain is deep.
I’ve come to discover however that my greatest need is by far not the mending of my physical, emotional, or relational struggles. My greatest need is for my sins to be forgiven. God in His grace through the cross of Christ has met that great need, and my heart should be responding with great joy and gratitude. That however is hard to do in the midst of these other difficulties in life.
Yet God’s Word makes it crystal clear that the meeting of my spiritual needs through Christ is far more miraculous, necessary, and impactful than the changing of any emotional, mental, or relational circumstances. This gospel truth is most clearly found in Mark chapter two, when Jesus heals a paralytic.
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man,carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” – Mark 2:1-12
Most of the times I’ve heard this story taught, it’s had a focus on the great length that this paralyzed man’s friends went to in order to help their friend find healing. Now, this teaching is beneficial, convicting, and applicable to our lives as followers of Christ. Yet in the times I’ve been taught this story growing up, I’ve never seen with such vividness the truth that Jesus was drawing the attention of the crowd to.
The paralytic’s greatest need was not for his legs to be healed so that he could walk, run, and jump. No, the paralytic’s greatest need was for his sins to be forgiven.
In verse five, Jesus makes this abundantly clear. He looks at this paralyzed man laying on a mat and says “your sins are forgiven”.
I can only imagine what his friends were thinking. They had just gone to great lengths to bring their friend to Jesus. They had even torn through a roof to do so. Yet Jesus looks at their friend and merely says “your sins are forgiven”.
Now, this was not only a statement that proved this paralyzed man’s greatest need. Rather it was also Jesus proclaiming His deity and ability to forgive sins (v. 10). The Lord Jesus Christ we worship and dedicate our lives to is able to forgive us of all of our sin. Every last grievance and shortcoming.
My prayer is that I would come to understand that even when my emotional, relational, and physical needs aren’t met in immediacy (although this wasn’t the case with this paralyzed man), that I have a reason to sing and worship because my spiritual needs are covered. The Son of Man has forgiven my sins. As a man who has placed my faith in the Lord Jesus and what the life and death of Jesus did for my eternal state, I have forgiveness of all sins. Oh that I could train my heart to be overjoyed with this reality.
Our God is good and great. Our God does no wrong, and He does not fail.
The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame. – Zephaniah 3:5
I add that sentence and verse as a reminder that even when physical, emotional, or relational realities don’t change, God does no wrong and He never fails. He always does what is best and what is right. I’m an imperfect man who has to fight hard to cling to this truth. It’s not easy to claim this promise but it is no less true. What God does is right, and He does not fail.
Rejoice, follower of Jesus.
Your greatest need has been met in fullness by the precious blood of Christ on the cross. Bring your physical, emotional, and relational needs to Jesus. Cast your cares upon the One who loves You and cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). You are the apple of his eye, and you are hidden in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8).
Yet in the changing difficulties of this life, rejoice that the Lord has seen fit to look at you and say, “Your sins are forgiven”.
In His Name,
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