February 12, 2008

Forgiveness: Receiving It

Luke 5:17-26

Immediately he stood up ... took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Luke 5:25


Yesterday we met the paralyzed man and his friends who lowered him into a house full of surprised people. Jesus healed the man in a rather complicated process. First, Jesus saw the faith of the man and his friends because of the effort they made. (Imagine being rewarded for tearing apart your neighbor?s house!) Because of their faith, he forgave the paralyzed man?s sins. That is probably not what they thought they needed, but Jesus knew best. Next, after a brief argument with the Pharisees and teachers of the law, he told the man, ?Get up, take your mat and go home.?

Now it was the man?s turn to respond to Jesus? words. His first chance to show that he believed was to try to obey after Jesus forgave him. Jesus gave three clear instructions: ?Get up, take your mat and go home.? If the man said, ?I can?t. That?s why my friends lowered me,? his faith would be useless (see James 2:20). But this man did all three things and went home praising God.

The first important part of the discipline of forgiveness is having the faith to accept forgiveness from Jesus. Then we begin learning to forgive others by doing what Jesus tells us to do.

Do you believe Jesus has forgiven you? What does Jesus want you to do to show him you accept his gift of forgiveness?

Eternal forgiver and healer, thank you for showing us the people you forgave and healed, who received your Word in faith. Lead us in new life daily, we pray. 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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