February 14, 2008

Forgiveness: Jesus? People Giving It

Luke 5:17-26

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.
Luke 5:26


This story shows that forgiveness is both costly and demanding. It cost God?s Son his life to forgive the man?s sins and tell him to walk. But the demands of forgiveness elicit different responses. The lame man accepted Jesus? forgiveness by obeying his command to walk and by praising God. The religious leaders, however, disbelieved in Jesus? authority to forgive and thus rejected Jesus, increasing their own debt of sin.

Another response to Jesus? forgiveness came from the crowd to whom Jesus often preached. In contrast with the religious leaders, everyone in this crowd ?was amazed and gave praise to God.?

People accept Jesus with differing degrees of obedience. Unlike the leaders who rejected Jesus, ?everyone? believed that Jesus forgave and healed the paralyzed man. All those people were in a healthy spiritual condition to continue developing their own relationship with Jesus. Others in that crowd may have met Jesus again, and he might have forgiven or healed them. Had they not believed when they saw Jesus forgive another person, they would have missed an opportunity to praise God or be open to Jesus? potential work in their lives.

How have you seen God?s forgiveness work in another person? Did it open you to other ways God might work in you? Are you ready to forgive another?

Dear God, may your forgiving Word soak into our hearts and grow out of our lives, no matter how profoundly we sin or how we have sinned against you or others. 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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