February 11, 2008

Forgiveness: a Gift From Jesus

Luke 5:17-26

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ?Friend, your sins are forgiven.?
Luke 5:20


Forgiveness does not always make the list of spiritual disciplines. Yet for four days we will see forgiveness as a disciplined process in which we can participate. As you read and re-read this story in the coming days, be aware that you are practicing the discipline of lectio divina while you are also learning to practice another discipline. A disciplined Christian life is demanding, full, and rewarding because it helps lead one closer to God.

How does forgiveness start? We become aware of a need for something that only God can give. The para-lyzed man and his friends knew they needed something that only Jesus could give, but they thought it was ?only? healing. So they worked hard to give Jesus the opportunity to heal.

Meanwhile, as the roof tiles came off and the man dropped into the room, Jesus saw a deeper human need. When Jesus forgave the paralytic, he was not singling him out as a greater sinner than anyone else. Rather, he was declaring to everyone that all human need is rooted in our need for God to forgive our sin. Here it may look as if forgiveness was easier for Jesus. But later he paid with his life so that we could be forgiven.

Through Jesus we learn how much we need to be for-given and how we need to forgive others?as we?ll con-tinue to see in this episode from Luke.

Lord Jesus, give us the faith to see your forgiving power. Thank you for giving your life for us. As forgiven sinners, may we show our faith in all we do and say. Amen.

About the author — James and Rose Dekker

James C. Dekker is the pastor of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario. Previously he served other congregations in Alberta and Ontario. Rose Dekker serves as a refugee coordinator for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Canada. She also serves as a certified spiritual director. The Dekkers were missionaries for nine years with Christian Reformed World Missions, serving in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba.

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